Eric Pickles’ false claims on Lib Dem defectors

Conservative Party Chair Eric Pickles writes in an email to activists that, "Thousands of Lib Dems are choosing the Conservative Party." But Tim Montgomerie on Conservative Home outlines that, "A ComRes poll [shows] ... Only 16% said the Conservative Party and 31% said the Labour Party."

Conservative Party Chair Eric Pickles follows up David Cameron’s ode to Liberal Democrats in yesterday’s Observer with an email titled, “Thousands of Lib Dems are choosing the Conservative Party.”

But Tim Montgomerie on Conservative Home reveals the truth in an article titled “Liberal Democrat activists want coalition with Labour, not Tories”:

“A ComRes poll for BBC1’s Daily Politics reveals the left-leaning instincts of the average Liberal Democrat acivist.  ComRes asked: ‘In the event of a hung parliament at the next election, and if the Liberal Democrats held the balance of power, which party would you prefer the Liberal Democrats to support in Government?’

“Only 16% said the Conservative Party and 31% said the Labour Party.”

A Populus poll for the Times published last week showed that just 16 per cent of Liberal Democrats would vote Conservative to stop Labour if they “lived in a constituency where the Liberal Democrats had no chance of winning and it was a close two-horse race between Labour and the Conservatives.”

The email from Pickles embeds a video featuring eight defectors from the Liberal Democrats to the Conservatives. It is unclear what happened to the other 9,992 defectors to which Pickles referred.

UPDATE: Stephen Tall has a fascinating poll (of activists, to be clear) asking a subtly different range of questions and produces some different results. It suggests that 61 per cent of activists would be equally ready to negotiate with either Labour or the Conservatives.

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