Talking Business

James StarkieBusiness Development Consultant
April 28, 2015, 2:59 PM GMT+0

Do MPs and the public trust business leaders on political issues?

This week has seen the latest foray by business into the mainstream political debate, this time with 5,000 SMEs writing to the Daily Telegraph. Business leaders will often enter the public policy forum on a range of issues such as employment, education, taxation and Britain’s role in Europe, and last year saw a number of business leaders speak out about the potential impact of Scottish independence.

When YouGov polled a representative sample of 100 UK MPs at the end of last year, it was perhaps unsurprising to find that they will place trust where views match their own party line, so we see trust on opinions around the EU at 80% amongst Labour MPs and down at 33% for Conservative MPs. However, on business taxation, where you might expect business leaders views to be more in line with Conservative party policy, Tory MPs trust is 84% to 45% Labour.

Looking across six policy areas in particular, YouGov found 61% of MPs trust the opinions of business to discuss the topic of Europe. However, there are significant differences by party, with 81% of Labour MPs trusting opinions on Europe and just 34% of Conservative MPs holding the same view. YouGov’s polling of the electorate from January this year reveals that MPs are out of step with the public on this question: 46% of potential Conservative voters and 34% of potential Labour voters trust business leaders’ opinions on Europe. In contrast with a large majority (81%) of Labour MPs trusting business leaders' opinions on Europe, a small majority (51%) of potential Labour voters do not trust business leaders’ views on the issue.

picture two

On all six issues included in this study we found a majority of all MPs surveyed said they would trust the opinions of business leaders. However, the public did not trust business leaders on any of the issues. This perhaps reflects the general decline in trust amongst the public whether it be in politicians, business, journalists and many other areas of public life. It is, however, crucial for business to remember this at it represents the lens through which much of the public references any opinion given by business leaders.

YouGov interviewed 105 MPs, representative of the House of Commons between 2nd - 17th December 2014 and 1747 GB adults weighted to be representative of the adult population 18th – 19th January 2015.

YouGov runs the quickest turnaround MPs omnibus in the UK, the first of which in the new Parliament will be on 2nd June with results in just 2 weeks; YouGov also interviews 2,000 members of the public daily. For more information about interviewing MPs, the public or other groups please contact or call James on 020 7012 6113.

Picture from PA