MPs claim opinion polls are used to 'fix' elections

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Indy Politics

The Labour Party chairman, Ian McCartney, is to hold cross-party talks over allegations that opinion polls are being used to "fix" election results.

MPs who want stricter regulation of opinion surveys will use a Commons debate on the postal ballot fiasco today to raise their concerns about the way that polls were allegedly manipulated on "super Thursday".

One cabinet minister claimed that opinion polls for the European elections suggesting that the UK Independence Party was running neck-and-neck with Labour and the Tories could have cost Labour some seats in the European Parliament.

"We can't prove that we lost seats because of the polls, but we lost a couple of seats by only a few hundred votes and the boost given in the polls for UKIP could have had an effect," said the minister.

Barry Sheerman, a senior Labour backbencher, protested to the Prime Minister about the breakdown of self-regulation for the pollsters. Mr Sheerman, chairman of the Commons Select Committee on Education, has tabled a Commons motion signed by 63 MPs claiming that the polls are being fixed. The MPs allege that modern polling techniques are being used to produce results favoured by the newspapers and broadcasters who commission them. The pollsters deny collusion.

The MPs want the Government to conduct an investigation into the "integrity, honesty and professionalism of the polling industry".