Brexit begins

Today is the day that the United Kingdom notifies its intention to leave the European Union under article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. That will mean different things to different people, but to pollwatchers it probably means lots of polls.

Yesterday the Scottish Parliament voted 69-59 in favour of seeking a “Section 30” order to allow another independence referendum to be held. It won’t get one for the time being, and possibly not until after the next Scottish elections in 2021.

I wrote for Prospect Magazine about Lib Dem prospects. My view hasn’t really changed – the mismatch between local by-elections and national polls remains a puzzle, but in any case the party has quite a bit of upside both in votes and seats.

We got some Brexit-related polling yesterday from YouGov, specifically on Labour’s six Brexit tests. For the most part the public viewed them as nice but not essential.

There was also a Sky Data poll that asked whether people were happy or sad about Article 50 being triggered (Brits are happy by 50-36).

We don’t get too many constituency polls these days, but Survation polled Tatton for 38 Degrees to ask about their MP George Osborne’s new job editing the Standard. They think it’s wrong by some margin (62-26). The poll also asked general election voting intention, which was as follows (changes from the 2015 result):

If this is right, does it mean that the Tory vote is little changed in safe seats (and therefore up considerably in places that matter), or something else (like Remain vs Leave)? That is the question.

Nearby in Manchester Gorton, the by-election was confirmed for 4th May, as was widely expected.

I’m not sure if any polls are on the cards today, but here’s what is. At around 12:30 the six-page Article 50 letter will be hand delivered by Sir Tim Barrow. This appears timed to coincide with the end of PMQs, at which point Theresa May will make a statement to the House of Commons. Then at around 13:45 Donald Tusk will issue a press statement.

 

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