Exclusive poll

Two in five shun three main political parties

After 10 days of headlines that have devastated Parliament, The IoS reveals the strength of the public revolt against mainstream politics

Disenchantment among the British electorate with the three main parties is at a record high after 10 days of revelations about the expenses claims of the nation's MPs.

Two in five say they will refuse to vote or select one of the minor parties, such as the Greens or Ukip, rather than support the Tories, Labour or the Liberal Democrats, a ComRes poll shows.

The figures presented on the front page today are percentages for the entire electorate, and so include the 23 per cent who say they will not vote in the Westminster elections. They also include 17 per cent who will consider voting for a minor party – and that could prove a big opportunity for the Greens and Ukip at the forthcoming European polls, where they would be expected to do much better than in the first-past-the-post system.

The 40 per cent for "none of the above" is compared with 31 per cent for the Tories, 16 per cent for Labour and 13 per cent for the Lib Dems.

Among those absolutely certain to vote, the figures are even more stark – 64 per cent back "none of the above". Of these, 54 per cent are unlikely to vote and 10 per cent back other parties. This would leave the Conservatives on 18 per cent, Labour on 10 per cent and the Lib Dems on 8 per cent, suggesting there may be a record low turnout at the next election.

On the traditional state of the parties measure, Labour slides five points on last month to another record low – 21 per cent – with the Tories also slipping five, though well out in front on 41 per cent. The Lib Dems remain at 18 per cent. In an election, this would give David Cameron a majority of 152.

The slump of Labour and the Tories since the ComRes poll for The Independent last month underscores how the main parties are being punished for the expenses scandal. And a supplementary question asked of voters suggests that 43 per cent will consider voting for a minor party in the European elections next month. Other polls suggest that the Greens are set to double their 6 per cent of last time round.

Andrew Hawkins, chief executive of ComRes, said: "I can't remember any time when the minor parties were at anything like this level."

In an attempt to regain the initiative and restore trust, Gordon Brown will today issue a veiled threat to ministers whose expenses are under investigation that they could be sacked. The Prime Minister warns that any minister who is found to have "morally" or technically broken the rules "will not serve" with his government. He adds that Labour MPs found to be cheating will be deselected.

The Metropolitan Police has announced that it will this week consider launching criminal investigations into MPs' expenses claims. Downing Street sources refused to comment on the "scoping" inquiries into several MPs, including Chancellor Alistair Darling, Transport Secretary Geoff Hoon and the employment minister Tony McNulty.

The Speaker, Michael Martin, will also come under intense pressure to carry the can for the scandal, with friends suggesting he might announce his intention to stand down before the next election to try to appease critics. A motion of no confidence is expected to be tabled by MPs as early as tomorrow. His former media adviser, John Stonborough, told The Sunday Times last night that Mr Martin ruled with a "reign of terror" that allegedly held up a solution to the expenses crisis.

Yesterday Martin Bell, the anti-sleaze campaigner, suggested he might stand for election against an MP hit by the scandal, possibly the Speaker. There were reports last night that even the Queen has made clear to Mr Brown her unhappiness at the crisis. And an investigation by the IoS has discovered that Britain's MPs are taking advantage of another allowances "loophole" that lets them channel taxpayers' money into the network of local constituency associations around the country. More than 100 MPs are using expenses to pay their often impoverished constituency parties thousands of pounds a year for facilities and services such as rent and secretarial help. The MPs, who include Mr Cameron and nine members of his Shadow Cabinet, say they are paying for legitimate business services and that the arrangements have the blessing of House of Commons authorities.

In the ComRes poll, 50 per cent disagree with the statement that "most MPs are honest and have been let down by the greed of a minority", while 46 per cent agree. Six out of 10 voters believe Mr Cameron has dealt with the expenses issue better than Mr Brown.

Yet there is bad news for Labour MPs hoping for a fresh start under a candidate such as Alan Johnson, with just 32 per cent of people agreeing that the Health Secretary would be a better Prime Minister than Mr Brown.

The Sunday Telegraph today printed more revelations, including the expenses of the Tory MP Julian Lewis, who claimed more than £7,000 for redecorating his second home and installing new kitchen appliances. The MP for New Forest East denied any wrongdoing and said he would be "astonished" if an internal party audit ordered by Mr Cameron would judge any of his claims unreasonable and demand he return the cash.

Labour MP David Chaytor became the second in his party to be suspended, following Elliot Morley's downfall last week, after he admitted claiming £13,000 in mortgage interest payments for a mortgage that had been repaid. Mr Chaytor said he had made an "unforgivable error" and apologised unreservedly.

A ComRes poll of European voting intentions for the Sunday Express, commissioned by Ukip, put the Tories on 28 per cent, Labour on 20 and the Lib Dems on 14. Ukip were on 15, the Greens on 11 and the BNP on 4 per cent. And a BPIX/Mail on Sunday survey of general election voting intentions put the Tories on 42 per cent and Labour down at 20 per cent.

people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballStriker in talks over £17m move from Manchester United
Louis van Gaal, Radamel Falcao, Arturo Vidal, Mats Hummels and Javier Hernandez
footballFalcao, Hernandez, Welbeck and every deal live as it happens
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
The five geckos were launched into space to find out about the effects of weightlessness on the creatures’ sex lives
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
Life and Style
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside
lifeDavid Sedaris: What I learnt from my fitness tracker about the world
Arts and Entertainment
Word master: Self holds up a copy of his novel ‘Umbrella’
boksUnlike 'talented mediocrity' George Orwell, you must approach this writer dictionary in hand
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SQL Implementation Consultant (VB,C#, SQL, Java, Eclipse, integ

£40000 - £50000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: SQL Impl...

SQL Technical Implementation Consultant (Java, BA, Oracle, VBA)

£45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: SQL Technical ...

Head of IT (Windows, Server, VMware, SAN, Fidessa, Equities)

£85000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Head of IT (Windows, Server, VMware, SAN, ...

Lead C# Developer (.Net, nHibernate, MVC, SQL) Surrey

£55000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Lead C# Develo...

Day In a Page

Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor