Just a third of Tory voters say Boris Johnson is the best person to tackle corruption in Parliament

Isabelle KirkData Journalist
November 25, 2021, 12:11 PM UTC

Those who intend to vote Conservative at the next election lack confidence in their own party leader to root out corruption in Parliament, according to a new YouGov/Times survey.

The second jobs scandal has been at the forefront of public consciousness since Tory MP Owen Paterson was pulled up by the Parliamentary Standards Committee for an ‘egregious’ breach of lobbying rules. The vote by Conservative MPs to spare him from sanctions led to allegations of corruption, with MPs holding down second jobs now under scrutiny.

Of those Britons who currently intend to vote for the Tories, many of them seem to have a less than favourable opinion of Johnson’s handling of the scandal and his public image. Half (50%) say Johnson is dealing poorly with the allegations, as do 68% of the population in general.

When asked which of the two main party leaders would be best to handle the issue of corruption in Parliament, around the same percentage of Conservative supporters say neither leader (39%) as back Boris (37%), and 4% put their faith in Keir Starmer instead of Johnson.

But asked which they associate most with corruption in Parliament, few Conservative supporters say Boris Johnson (10%), instead being more likely to say both leaders equally (27%) or neither leader (31%). Labour voters are overwhelmingly more likely to connect the Prime Minister with corruption (77%) compared to their own party leader (just 1%).

Among the whole public, 41% of Britons associate Johnson with corruption in Parliament, compared to just 5% for Starmer. Some 21% associate both equally with corruption, and 13% neither leader.

The prime minister has announced that he will take steps to ban MPs working as paid political consultants, and our data reveals that most Britons (58%) support such a ban, with just 23% opposed.

Despite the promised ban, the British public has little confidence in Boris Johnson’s ability to follow through, with 60% of Britons saying they don’t think the Prime Minister will prevent MPs from working as paid political consultants. Only 13% believe he would be the best person to handle the issue of corruption in Parliament, with 25% backing Labour leader Keir Starmer, and 39% trusting neither party leader to root out sleaze and scandal.

Of those who currently intend to vote for the Tories, 40% say that a ban on MPs working as paid political consultants is unlikely to happen.

See the full results here