Fewer than one in six voters believes George Osborne has the judgement necessary to handle the economy, according to a new poll underlining the fallout from claims that the shadow Chancellor was involved in discussions about a donation from a Russian billionaire. Nearly one in three people questioned said Mr Osborne should resign from the Tory front bench, according to a ComRes poll conducted for the BBC in the wake of the affair.
Mr Osborne has strongly denied that he sought an illegal £50,000 donation to the Tory party from the aluminium oligarch Oleg Deripaska, although he has admitted he was present when a possible donation was discussed. But yesterday's poll for the BBC's Daily Politics programme demonstrates the huge damage inflicted on Mr Osborne by the row over what was said during his stay with his friend, the banking heir Nathaniel Rothschild, on Corfu and his visit to Mr Deripaska's yacht.
In a poll of 1,011 voters on Wednesday and Thursday, 35 per cent disagreed with the statement that Mr Osborne "has the judgement to be a future Chancellor", while only 16 per cent agreed. Just over 20 per cent thought that Lord Mandelson, who also met Mr Deripaska on his yacht this summer, had the judgement to hold his new job as Business Secretary. Thirty-nine per cent said he did not. Only 21 per cent of respondents agreed that the Prime Minister was "right to bring Peter Mandelson back into Government".