EXCLUSIVE: Majority of voters think the government is corrupt, poll finds

54% of those asked think the UK government is corrupt, compared to 26% who think the government is not corrupt

Boris Johnson

A majority of voters think the current government is corrupt, an exclusive poll for LFF has found.

The poll, carried out by Savanta:ComRes, found that 54% of those asked think the UK government is corrupt, compared to 26% who think the government is not corrupt. The findings come after a torrid few weeks for the Tory government following sleaze and corruption scandals.

Owen Paterson resigned as an MP after he was found guilty of an “egregious” breach of lobbying rules by the parliamentary watchdog, despite the initial attempts of prime minister Boris Johnson to let him off the hook by scrapping the independent watchdog and rewriting the rules. A public outcry led to a humiliating U-turn from the government, with the Tories also losing dropping in the polls following the scandal.

It has also been revealed that the government had VIP lanes for some companies bidding for contracts due to their political connections. Randox won a Covid testing contract worth £133m just days before government officials confirmed it did not have enough equipment, according to documents. The company has been in the media spotlight after it was revealed Paterson had lobbied on their behalf.

There has also been widespread anger and condemnation over cronyism in the government, especially over the way the government has handed Covid contracts. Transparency International said that one in five government Covid contracts awarded between February and November 2020 contained one or more red flags for possible corruption and require urgent further investigation.

It also comes amid increased scrutiny over MPs’ second jobs and conflicts of interest, with Boris Johnson embracing watered down measures to ban MPs having second consultancy jobs.

The latest polling for LFF shows that 54% of 18-24 year olds think the UK government is corrupt, compared to 58% of 55 to 64 year olds. While only 37% of Conservative Party voters think the UK government is corrupt, the figure rises to 69% of Labour Party voters, 63% of Lib Dem voters and 81% of Green Party voters.

When it comes to region, 59% of respondents who live in the North West think the government is corrupt, the highest of any English region, with 54% of Londoners also saying the current government is corrupt.

Commenting on the findings, Prem Sikka, an Emeritus Professor of Accounting at the University of Essex and the University of Sheffield and a Labour member of the House of Lords told LFF: “People can smell the stench of corruption and it’s over all institutions of government. What we really need is a new politics, which prioritises people rather than the interests of big corporations.”

The question asked was the following: “Being ‘corrupt’ is having or showing a willingness to act dishonestly in return for money or personal gain. Which of the following best describes your view?”

The UK Government is corrupt

The UK Government is not corrupt

-Don’t know

Representative poll of 2184 GB adults. Prepared by Savanta: ComRes

Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward

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