British political system ‘broken’

March 09, 2010, 2:13 AM GMT+0

The public’s perception of the British political system is that it is broken and that most MPs are self serving, dishonest and out of touch with their constituents, a survey has found.

The survey, undertaken on behalf of the Sun, asked 1503 British adults their opinion of MPs, the expenses scandal and of the political system in general.

When asked their opinion of the characters of MPs, a large majority considered them out of touch (70%), more concerned with their own interests than with doing a good job (66%) and dishonest (48%). This compares with 19% who think they are in touch with their constituents, 19% who think that they are more concerned with serving the public interest and 34% who think they are honest.

Political system

A similar sentiment was found when respondents were asked their perception of the political system as a whole. The results show that the majority of British people (60%) feel the political system is broken. This compares with just over a third (36%) thinking that the system works well, and of those only a relatively tiny percentage (3%) thinking that it works extremely well.

As to whether the expenses scandal will affect the way MPs make future expense claims, people’s perceptions are divided. Overall, 48% think that MPs now ‘get it’ and will do better in the future. 47% think that MPs will still try and ‘get away with it’ in the future, suggesting that many still have not forgiven MPs for their behavior during the scandal.

Regional differences

When we look regionally, however, there are differences. Those in the North believe that MPs are the least likely to change their behavior, with 51% thinking that they will not change. The Midlands and Wales are the regions the most trusting of MPs, with only 40% thinking they will not change. A significant 56% believe that MPs have the potential to change.

The survey revealed a poor perception of British politics at the moment. With the character of MPs in serious disrepute and almost half of people thinking that their future behaviour will not change, the forthcoming election may very well be an excellent indictor of whether politicians have done enough to regain the trust of the electorate.

For full survey details and results, please click here