Labour grassroots fancy Vince as coalition partner

Published: 1 May 2015 at 14:18

Anglia Ruskin poll shows support for SNP, but Clegg and Salmond are off the menu.

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A new poll indicates that Labour Party activists would prefer Vince Cable as Deputy Prime Minister in the event of a Labour-led coalition after 7 May.

Anglia Ruskin University’s Labour History Research Unit surveyed 185 Labour councillors in key marginal constituencies across the UK – a combination of target seats that Labour have on their hit list for the General Election, as well as seats vulnerable to a Tory swing.

The poll shows that although a potential Labour-SNP coalition attracts similar support (39% in favour) to a Labour-Lib Dem coalition (37%), there is little appetite for Ed Miliband working alongside Alex Salmond (only 11.8% would accept Salmond as Deputy Prime Minister).

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg is almost as unpopular amongst the Labour grassroots (12.9% would accept Clegg as Deputy Prime Minister) but Vince Cable, himself a former Labour councillor, attracts a much stronger 39.5% approval rating – by the far the highest of likely Deputy Prime Ministerial candidates.

The survey by the Labour History Research Unit also shows:

  • 87.1% would support a Labour minority government which deals with other parties on a vote-by-vote basis.
  • 80.4% agree with Labour’s pledge to waive stamp duty for first time buyers for houses up to the value of £300,000.
  • 76.9% think that Ed Miliband was correct in agreeing to be interviewed by Russell Brand.

In the event of a coalition, the Lib Dems’ “red line” promise to increase education funding is backed by 83.8% of Labour councillors, while 76.3% say they would support their pledge to increase the personal tax allowance to £12,500.

Green Party policies on introducing a £10 minimum wage (72% support) and a Financial Transaction Tax (73.8%) also prove popular with the Labour rank and file.  Only 44.9% say they would be in favour of the SNP’s policy to scrap the renewal of Trident.

Historian Dr Richard Carr, of Anglia Ruskin’s Labour History Research Unit, said:

“Ed Miliband last night ruled out any deal with the SNP – and Labour activists’ views on Alex Salmond suggests this stance may have significant support within the party."

“On the other hand, with Labour councillors expressing strong backing for key Lib Dem pledges like raising the personal tax allowance and increasing education funding, Miliband may have a little more room for manoeuvre when considering any Lib-Lab pact."

“But the desired price for the Labour base is clear: either Nick Clegg has to go, or the pace of deficit reduction he has set out will need to be altered.  For Labour activists, whilst they might accept a deal with Vince, at the moment it appears unlikely they can agree with Nick.”

To download the results of the survey, please visit