Westminster confidential

July 22, 2010, 7:16 PM GMT+0

The public see no reason why politicians shouldn’t make money from publishing their memoirs after leaving office, but is not generally interested in reading them, according to a recent survey.

When asked if they think it is right or wrong for politicians to make money by writing about their experiences in government, over half (53%) of British adults think that it is right. However, a sizeable minority (37%) think that it is wrong for political figures to make money from selling their memoirs after standing down. Notably, older members of the public were most likely to object to politicians profiting from their memories, with 43% of those over 60 years old thinking that it is wrong.

The survey then asked how interested people were in reading the diaries of various political figures from the previous Government. Although the vast majority of respondents are not interested in reading the diaries, Tony Blair emerged as the frontrunner. One in five British adults (21%) are interested in reading the memoirs of the former Prime Minister, which are due to be published in September this year. Gordon Brown was also a relatively popular choice, with 18% of people interested in reading his autobiography.

Only 14% of people are interested in reading Peter Mandelson’s memoirs, which have recently been released and entitled The Third Man. Sarah Brown was the least popular choice, with only one in 10 respondents saying they would be interested in reading her diaries, which are due to be released next year.

An interesting gender difference emerged when looking at the interest in the memoirs of these political figures - a quarter of men (25%) are interested in reading the memoirs of Tony Blair compared with only 17% of women; and one in five men (19%) have an interest in Peter Mandelson’s diary compared with only 11% of women. Comparatively, Sarah Brown’s diary is of more interest to women with 16% of women interested in reading it compared with only 6% of men.

Survey details and full results