Trust in MPs to tell truth still low but higher than pre-election

Trust in MPs to tell the truth is still low but higher than it was amid Brexit divisions in October 2019.

The author(s)

  • Gideon Skinner Public Affairs
  • Keiran Pedley Public Affairs
  • Cameron Garrett Public Affairs
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A new Ipsos survey shows that trust in MPs to tell the truth, although still low, is higher now than it was in October 2019.  One in five (19%) Britons aged 18-75 think MPs in general tell the truth most or all of the time, up from 11% last October, according to the online poll carried out between 29 May-3 June.  Another 36% trust MPs to tell the truth about half the time (28% in October), and 38% not very often or never (53% in October).

Trust

Trust in people’s local MPs is often higher than trust in MPs generally, and this pattern is also found here.  A third think their local MP tells the truth at least most of the time (32%, up from 22% in October), while a quarter think they do so not very often or never (25%, down from 35% in October).  Only 21%, however, think Government ministers tell the truth at least most of the time; 40% think they do so rarely or never.

Over the same period, trust in Boris Johnson to tell the truth all or most of the time has also gone up, from 22% to 31%.  Four in ten, 39%, think he tells the truth not very often or never, down from 48% in October.  Labour leader Keir Starmer is trusted to tell the truth most of the time by a similar proportion as the Prime Minister (at 33%), although fewer think he tells the truth not very often or never (19%, while 29% say they don’t know).  In October last year, 19% said they thought then-Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn told the truth most or all of the time, marginally behind Boris Johnson’s scores at that time.

Trust

Among their own supporters, trust in Mr Johnson and Sir Keir is similar.  Just over half (54%) of 2019 Conservative voters trust Boris Johnson to tell the truth most of the time, and the exact same proportion of 2019 Labour voters feel the same about Keir Starmer.  Almost half of Remain voters (47%) think the Labour leader tells the truth most of the time, but only 21% think the same of the Prime Minister.  Those figures are reversed among Leave supporters: 25% trust Sir Keir to tell the truth most of the time, 47% Boris Johnson.

Gideon Skinner, Head of Political Research at Ipsos, said: 

We’ve seen some signs of a rallying-around effect since the coronavirus crisis started.  For example, there is confidence in many public services to respond to the pandemic, and the public seems to be feeling more positive about MPs now too.  However, there is little room for complacency.  It should be noted that the last measure in October was in the midst of divisions over Brexit which may have impacted the public’s views of politicians (we saw a fall in the ratings of politicians in Ipsos’s regular Veracity Index that year).  Further, there remains cynicism towards politics generally – Britons are less likely to believe that the coronavirus will lead to changes in the way we are governed than in other aspects of our society.

Technical note

Ipsos interviewed a representative sample of 1,241 British adults aged 18-75. Interviews were conducted online from 29th May – 3rd June 2020. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population. All polls are subject to a wide range of potential sources of error.

The author(s)

  • Gideon Skinner Public Affairs
  • Keiran Pedley Public Affairs
  • Cameron Garrett Public Affairs

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