The YouGov Spying Study Part Five: Should the UK be spying on other countries and if so – which?

Milan DinicResearch Manager
September 30, 2021, 9:25 AM UTC

A majority (58%) of Britons say the UK should be spying on other countries, including 44% who think this should extend to countries we consider to be our allies.

One in eight (13%) think the UK should not be spying on any other country. Among Labour supporters, 18% think the UK shouldn’t be spying on anyone, compared to just 6% of Conservative voters who hold this view.

Among Britons who think the UK should be spying on others, seven in ten said Russia (85%) should be on the list, and the same number said China (85%).

Almost half of these Britons (48%) think that espionage should be conducted against the US, with Labour voters (57%) more likely than Conservative voters (44%) to advocate this.

Four in ten of those who think the UK should be spying on other countries (43%) think the EU should be on the list, with Conservative voters more likely to think so than Labour voters (48% vs 36%).

A quarter of Britons (27%) say the UK should also be spying on NATO and 29% think we should be spying on the United Nations.

In the eyes of most Britons, Russia is the country with the best spies in the world. Half (53%) hold this view.

Some way behind is China, which 40% expect has the best spies. A third imagine that America has the best spies (34%) while 30% think Britain does. A quarter (27%) rank Israel as having the best spies.

A third of Britons (37%) say they don’t know.

See the full results here and here