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Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

  1. Coalfields and the Labour vote

    Duncan Weldon

    Economics correspondent

    This weekend I couldn't open Twitter without seeing some version of the below picture.

    Image caption: Source: Twitter

    The idea behind this juxtaposition is that Labour's vote is now confined to former coal mining areas and London.

    Which is an interesting hypothesis. If not one that is necessarily correct.

    As Business Insider's Mike Bird was keen to point out, there are other correlations that also work... .

    Or to put it simply, the correlation isn't coalfields as such but urban areas.

  2. Duncan Weldon, Newsnight economics correspondent


  3. Laura Kuenssberg, Newsnight chief correspondent


  4. Boris - "like a new day at school"

    Boris Johnson

    Laura Kuenssberg caught up with Boris Johnson about the atmosphere in the Commons today which, according to him, "is just like a new day at school".

    Watch the brief exchange here.

  5. Laura Kuenssberg, Newsnight chief correspondent


  6. Cameron versus Thatcher on reshuffles

    Does the Prime Minister enjoy wielding the knife?

    Marc Williams

    Newsnight Election Producer

    Table of knives

    A lot of the talk after David Cameron won a majority on Friday was about how he would now have a free hand to remake his Cabinet, free of the need to include any Liberal Democrats.

    In the event, he has chosen to adopt a "steady as she goes" strategy, retaining 13 members of his pre-election Cabinet in their existing roles. The prevailing view of David Cameron is that he hates reshuffles and goes out of his way to avoid them. Is this backed up by fact?

    Comparing Mr Cameron with his four immediate predecessors, we find that:

    • Cameron has had 4 reshuffles in 5 years (May 2010, September 2012, July 2014 and May 2015)
    • Gordon Brown had 4 reshuffles in 3 years (July 2007, January 2008, October 2008 and June 2009)
    • Tony Blair had 8 reshuffles in 10 years (May 1997, July 1998, October 1999, July 2001, June 2003, May 2005, May 2006 and May 2007)
    • John Major had 5 reshuffles in 6 and a half years (November 1990, April 1992, May 1993, July 1994 and July 1995)
    • Margaret Thatcher had 7 reshuffles in 10 and a half years (May 1979, September 1981, June 1983, September 1985, June 1987, July 1989 and October 1989)

    I've included each first cabinet as a reshuffle. I've also ignored mini-reshuffles caused by resignations (such as Liam Fox or Andrew Mitchell for Mr Cameron)

    This means that Cameron has had a reshuffle about once every 15 months. This compares with every 9 months for Brown, 15 months for Blair, 16 months for Major and 18 months for Thatcher.

    This reluctance of Mrs Thatcher to reshuffle is borne out by her interview with Robin Day after her victory in the 1983 election:

    Thacher: What you have to do, is that you have a number of people in the House for quite a time, you've had a number of people in junior posts, you know people who are ... climbing the ladder, want to be able to climb up another rung. The terrifying thing and frightening thing for me is, the worst job I ever have to do here, is that means ... having to ... for some people to come on the ladder, some people have to climb off. And it's not because they've done the job badly at all. It is because you have to keep movement in politics in order to keep people with something to go for.

    Robin Day: I think it was Asquith who said, perhaps in this very building, that a Prime Minister must be a good butcher. Are you a good butcher, Mrs. Thatcher?

    Thatcher: No, I'm not a good butcher, but have had to learn to carve the joint.

    Here is the video.

    So, reshuffles were a painful experience for a woman not usually known for her squeamishness. But her point about the cathartic impact of shaking things up is evidently one with which Mr Cameron does not entirely agree.

  7. Have UKIP missed out on their Sturgeon moment?

    Harry Pick, Newsnight producer

    Nigel Farage
    Image caption: Nigel Farage won't be resigning after all

    So Nigel Farage is back. His resignation has been rejected and it looks like he’ll remain as UKIP leader to fight their EU referendum campaign. But could the party have learnt something from the nationalists north of the border by offering voters a clean slate with a less polarising figure steering the ship?

    It is no secret Nicola Sturgeon's leadership was a key ingredient to the SNP tidal wave of seats last week. We were up in Glasgow on Thursday, and those we spoke to who had switched to the SNP were universal in their praise for her campaign. Sturgeon was an attractive proposition after years of Salmond. She focused on populist anti-austerity measures and wasn't lumbered by the battle for independence. She also had a more measured and less divisive demeanour that struck a chord with woman turned off by Salmond’s zeal. Such was Salmond’s mixed response there was even hope among the Lib Dems he might not win Gordon, and he certainly didn’t enjoy the greatest swing of the night.

    Farage shares many of Salmond’s problems. His approval ratings have been in steady decline since late last year and, whilst many voters see him as in touch with the common man, his own election result showed they are clearly weary of the idea of him as a serious policy-forming politician. His concession speech on Friday felt like he'd lost the energy to mount another campaign. UKIP may have missed their chance of a further surge, especially as the EU referendum approaches as the next big political battle. Suzanne Evans was perhaps the clear choice to replace him – female, shrewd and a good media performer (minus the odd slip up), she may appeal to just the kind of voters turned off by Farage’s attitude and rhetoric. Whether Farage, and UKIP, can improve on their position in future elections remains to be seen.

  8. Did people reward the Conservatives for higher earnings? (pt 2)

    You decide

    Ed Brown

    Newsnight producer

    Duncan wrote earlier about the effect (or not) of people's personal increases in wealth on their voting habits. YouGov's panel suggested that it didn't really help the Conservatives directly. So I thought I'd see if, in the actual election, there was any correlation between the size of the swing from Labour to Conservatives in a constituency and the increase in earnings they'd seen since 2010 (2014 was the latest data available).

    Make your own mind up - but it's far from obvious to me from this chart:

    Chart of Labour vs Conservative increases in earnings and votes
  9. SNP arrives in Westminster

    Laura Kuenssberg, Chief Correspondent, tweets

  10. Post update

    Laura Kuenssberg, Chief Correspondent, tweets

  11. The politics of austerity

    Marc Williams

    Newsnight Election Producer

    Ed Balls loses his seat on Thursday

    The loss of Ed Balls on Thursday leaves Labour's economic policy in limbo. The party's direction in this area is likely to be the biggest bone of contention in the leadership election to come.

    Today might not be the best time to offer analysis of polling, given the doldrums into which the polling industry has plunged after their failures on Thursday. Nonetheless, the in-depth polling from Lord Ashcroft on why we voted the way we did does have some interesting facts contained within it which Labour leadership contenders will be poring over. Chief among them are the differing attitudes of the different parties' supporters towards austerity past and future.

    Among Tory voters,

    • 84% believe that further cuts are necessary over the next five years
    • 14% believe that cuts were necessary but that we don't need any more
    • 2% believe that no cuts were ever necessary. Presumably these people didn't take much time to familiarise themselves with Conservative policy

    Among Labour voters,

    • 17% believe that further cuts are necessary over the next five years
    • 43% believe that cuts were necessary but that we don't need any more
    • 40% believe that no cuts were ever necessary

    So, think of what that means for how the two main parties orientate themselves over the next five years. For the Conservatives, it is relatively straightforward: most of their supporters are already signed up for more cuts, with a few who will need persuading of the case for more pain. There is a limit to how much political damage they can suffer.

    For Labour, on the other hand, you have 83% of their supporters believing that future cuts are not necessary. Whoever takes over as leader will have rebuilding their party's economic credibility at the top of their to do list. It is difficult from those polling figures to see how they can retain even the disappointing coalition of voters that they assembled last Thursday if they admit any need for cuts in Government spending either past or future.

    But here's the terrible dilemma for the party: it is equally difficult to see how they can persuade those people who voted Tory last week to vote for them next time unless they do offer some kind of mea culpa on the economy.

    The most fertile territory for them might be those 14% of Tory voters who think that cuts were necessary but not any more. But, in the great scheme of things, that's pretty slim pickings, particularly for a party that needs more than just "one more heave" to get over the line in 2015.

  12. The recovery, personal finances & voting

    Duncan Weldon

    Economics correspondent

    Lord Ashcroft's exit day poll, in common with all other political polling, will no doubt be treated with more caution than would have been the case a few days ago.

    One of the more striking findings is the table below, which shows how people felt about the economic recovery and how they voted.

    a table of polling results
    Image caption: Source: Lord Ashcroft Polls

    It appears to show that those who were feeling the benefits of recovery voted Conservative whilst those who weren't feeling the benefits (and didn't expect to) voted Labour and UKIP.

    But the key word here may be "feeling".

    As Chris Hanretty blogged back in March ,Yougov regularly collect data on the income of their polling panel members. By comparing that data to their answers to polls (asked at different times) it is possible to see if those who are objectively better off actually tell pollsters that they are feeling it.

    The short answer is that they don't.

    a table of polling results
    Image caption: Source: Yougov Data

    Around a third of people who had seen their income rise actually said they where worse off.

    As Chris has put it: "this suggests strongly that subjective evaluations of economic conditions should be used as indicators of mood rather than as a proxy for what actually happened to respondents".

    In other words, it;s best not to over-read the Ashcroft findings. Those who voted Conservative may simply have "felt" better off regardless as to whether they actually where or not.

  13. Labour's Worst Nightmare


    Lewis Goodall

    Newsnight producer

    Could it get worse for Labour? It's hard to imagine after being decapitated in Scotland and falling back to its lowest number of seats for nearly two decades.

    But talking to people connected with the Labour campaign over the weekend, there isn't a lot of optimism for the future either.

    It might be despondency after a pretty torrid night but some Labour voices believe the party could face an existential fight for its survival.

    They feel any big comeback in Scotland might be unlikely - even in five years time, and there's little hope of any great improvement in the party's position come the 2016 Holyrood elections.

    Then there's UKIP, who finished second place in dozens of northern and Midlands Labour seats. There's a scenario in which, during a referendum on EU membership, UKIP receive an SNP-type jolt of enormous energy, gaining new members and purpose even if they fail in the referendum campaign itself. Northern Labour MPs sitting on big majorities, with an eye to their now unemployed former colleagues across Hadrians Wall, feel that they're perhaps not as safe as they might have once thought.

    In such a scenario, Labour make few gains back from the SNP in Scotland (assuming she remains in the union) and lose many seats to UKIP whilst making few gains against the Conservatives. If this happened, Labour could find itself with under 200 seats, possibly many fewer if the Conservatives were able to make further gains in key Lab-Con marginals.

    Now that's a LOT of ifs - and given we weren't able to predict the outcome of this election even the day before it took place, it might seem far-fetched to worry about the results of the 2020 election.

    But it shows that the party is gripped by fear and aware of how high the stakes might be. Parties can disappear - just look at the Liberal party's decline in the early 20th century. One major wrong turn (and/or the wrong leader) and the Labour party might find that a century on, it faces a similar crisis.

    Ed Miliband
    Image caption: Can Labour bounce back post-Miliband?
  14. The Tories Secret Strategy

    The "gulp moment" – what senior Tories knew, but kept quiet

    Emily Maitlis

    Newsnight Presenter

    Image caption: David Cameron in Cornwall during the election campaign

    There was a moment – I learnt today - during that long and extraordinary 24 hours as the results came – when senior Conservatives had what you might call "a gulp moment". A pause when they suddenly realised the destruction they had wrought. And it wasn’t caused by the things you might think.

    Not Ed Balls going, not Ed Miliband resigning, not the flourishing of the "northern powerhouse" seats nor the semi-miraculous gains in Wales.

    It was the moment they looked at the Lib Dem obliteration in the South West of England. And the gulp came, not because it wasn’t intended, but because it was. I’ve been told that the Lib Dem demolition strategy was the dark horse of the campaign. Little discussed, kept under wraps. But they quietly threw everything at it realising it was their best – perhaps only – way to win seats. It’s the reason Labour confidently thought they were beating the Tories in the ground war – the Tories weren’t there, they were down in the South West. It explains why they didn’t really mind Danny Alexander going rogue with the Welfare cuts leak – they knew the Lib Dems wouldn’t live to tell the tale.

    Of course, they never presumed a Tory majority. But they always believed, I'm told, the Lib Dems would be shrunk to a party of maximum 20 seats. The gulp came, when things worked twice as well than they had possibly dared hope.

  15. Who benefits from a short vs a long Labour race?

    It's not clear cut

  16. A new political world


    Laura Kuenssberg

    Newsnight Chief Correspondent

    The first day of the new political world. For the Conservatives, Osborne apparatchiks are rewarded with promotions and new jobs. The party has the Human Rights Act in its sights, with Michael Gove now in charge at Justice.

    Labour is only just starting to contemplate coming to terms with what has happened. One MP, depressed at opposition again tells me, "I've just come back into my office and thought, God five more years of this".

    For two other parties, today couldn't be more different.

    The SNP's new 56 are gathering this afternoon - a force to be reckoned with. The third party now in Westminster will make a big difference to the look and feel of the place.

    And the Lib Dems - they are licking their wounds. Eight of them will gather again in Parliament today, a smaller band than they could possibly have imagined.

    Cameron poses with Conservative MPs
  17. Liberal lessons from Europe

    Can the Lib Dems bounce back?

    Ed Brown

    Newsnight producer

    Clegg and friends got well and truly whacked in this election.

    This morning, they are, rather bravely, trumpeting a 7,500 surge in membership since polls closed (Labour experienced a similar surge in 2010, incidentally).

    But can they really bounce back? Or will they be consigned to permanent irrelevance?

    We might find some clues in Europe. Here's how various liberal parties have done in coalitions over the last 50 years or so. I've circled elections after which they entered coalitions in red.

    1) D66 (Netherlands)

    D66 performance

    As you can see, with the exception of 1972, Coalition hasn't worked out so well for them.

    2) Liberal People's Party (Sweden)

    Swedish Liberal Party performance

    Yup, more post coalition woe.

    3) FDP (Germany)

    FDP electoral performance

    So this lot were in Government more than any other party in the first 50 years of post-war Germany - and up to the mid nineties they seemed to do okay on it hovering around 9 or 10% of the vote. They might have been a reasonable model for Clegg's Lib Dems...

    ...until 2013, when after a coalition with the CDU (Merkel's party, comparable to the Conservatives) when they lost, ah, all their seats.

    Lib Dems, then, are hardly alone amongst their international liberal colleagues in getting well and truly hammered in the election after a coalition.

    And they might draw some succour from what appears to be a trend of their European colleagues pulling back vote share when they enter opposition again.

    But there's another trend you'll have noticed.

    All of these parties seem, in the long run, to average at about 10% of the vote.

    The Lib Dems used to be outliers in scoring double that.

    The worry for what remains of the party is that the last 20 years have been an aberration. That, having seen what a British liberal party really stands for in Government, 9 out of 10 of the British electorate have decided, like their European peers, that they'd simply rather vote for someone else. Perhaps this isn't an exceptionally bad election result - but simply, the new normal.

  18. Friends of George

    Neil Breakwell

    Newsnight Deputy Editor

    George osborne

    If the reshuffle has one flavour it's that of George Osborne. Goodness knows what that tastes like, but the appointments today sees those who have been close to him getting a promotion.

    It starts with a promotion for himself: As well as remaining chancellor he becomes First Minister of State (seen as the vehicle for him to lead renegotiation on Europe).

    Two of his former PPS' Robert Halfon and Amber Rudd become Deputy Party Chairman (attending cabinet) and Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change respectively.(see update below)

    Priti Patel who worked closely with Osborne in the Treasury at the end of the last parliament becomes minister for employment.

    We already know that Cameron will not seek re-election. One challenger to Osborne, if he wants the top job of leader, is expected to be Theresa May. Therefore the appointment of Michael Gove to the Justice department will please backers of team Osborne. May and Gove spectacularly fell out over the extremism in schools story last year. Having another Osborne ally effectively shadowing Theresa May will be seen as helpful to his chances.

    **UPDATE** It's now four former PPSs as Gregg Hands becomes Chief Secretary and Sajid Javid becomes Business Secretary. 

  19. Oakeshott Scorecard

    Did Lord Oakeshott get much value for all that money?

    David Grossman


    Oakeshott Campaigning
    Image caption: Lord Oakeshott campaigning with Labour's Will Straw in Darwen

    The former Lib Dem peer Lord Oakeshott gave £10,000 to each of 46 candidates in order to help them keep the Conservatives or UKIP out. Of these 30 were Labour, 15 Lib Dem and 1 Green. So how did he do? Not very well.

    Of those 46 he got the outcome he wanted in just 6 seats. 4 Labour candidates, 1 Lib Dem and 1 Green. Here is the list:

    the numbers
    Image caption: Oakeshott Scorecard Labour
    The Numbers
    Image caption: Oakeshott Scorecard - The rest
  20. Laura Kuenssberg, Newsnight Chief Correspondent


    Laura Kuenssberg

    Newsnight Chief Correspondent


    Quote Message: Day 1 of new political world and by end we should know the whole cabinet and probably another one or two of sure contenders for labour job
    Quote Message: V interesting Cameron puts Whittingdale into DCMS - no fan of licence fee, been covering brief for years so proper expert - what will he do?
    Quote Message: David Miliband is doing a short interview today, seems v v unlikely he'll run but you never quite know....will keep you posted
  21. 5 things the Tories stopped the Lib Dems doing


    Conservative and Lib Dem logo

    We’ve heard a lot over the weekend about the fruitier Conservative policies that the Liberal Democrats stopped. But there are two sides to every coin. So here are five of the more extreme Liberal Democrat policies that their coalition partners binned:

    1. Liberal Democrats official policy is to give votes to prisoners - and they voted for it in the commons during the free vote in this Parliament (following the ECHR ruling)

    2. Liberal Democrats called for the legalisation of cannabis. Privately Tories argued that it contradicted the LD’s own policies on tackling mental health illness

    3. The Liberal Democrats pushed to give councils complete freedom over discounts on council tax – rather than mandating them on people who are less able to afford the tax (like single people) or empty properties

    4. The Liberal Democrats wanted the coalition to “consider” a whole load of rather odd taxes like “Workplace parking levies”, a “Tourism tax”, and a “Landfill tax” (whatever that is).

    5. Bin collection. Everyone cares about bins. Lib Dems wanted to give councils the right to charge for bin collection. This would have been a very, very unpopular move…