15 Sep 2011
Public confidence in MPs has fallen sharply over the past two years, the official standards watchdog has warned.
The Committee on Standards in Public Life published research showing a 20% fall in members of the public who believe most MPs are dedicated to doing a good job for the people they serve.
The survey shows just 26% now agree with the proposition, compared to 46% at the time of the committee’s last survey carried out at the end of 2008.
The figures would appear to reflect the continuing public anger and disillusionment over the MPs’ expenses scandal which broke in 2009.
The latest survey, conducted at the end of 2010 and start of 2011, found just 26% believe MPs are competent at their jobs – a 10% fall from 36% in 2008.
Those who feel MPs are in touch with the public fell 14 points from 29% to 15%, while those who think MPs set a good example in their private lives fell by a similar amount from 36% to 22%.
The number who believe MPs ensure public money is being spent wisely fell from 28% to 18%, those who think they explain the reasons for their decisions fell from 25% to 17%, while those who believe they tell the truth was down from 26% to 20%.
The committee chairman, Sir Christopher Kelly, described the findings as “worrying”.
“The results of this survey make stark reading,” he said. “Previous surveys have shown that public confidence in those holding public office has been on a long term decline since 2004. The 2010 results suggest that the rate of decline may have increased.”
The survey was carried out for the Committee on Standards in Public Life by TNS-BMRB Social Research. Interviews were carried out with 1,900 respondents in Great Britain between December 29 2010 and January 4 2011.