Cost-of-living crisis more important than Partygate or Beergate – poll

Opinions of the Prime Minister and the Labour leader are more likely to be based on the cost of living than claims of lockdown breaches.

Christopher McKeon
Thursday 12 May 2022 00:01
Prime Minister Boris Johnson (right) with the leader of the Labour Party Sir Keir Starmer walk through the Members’ Lobby at the Palace of Westminster ahead of the State Opening of Parliament in the House of Lords, London (Toby Melville/PA)
Prime Minister Boris Johnson (right) with the leader of the Labour Party Sir Keir Starmer walk through the Members’ Lobby at the Palace of Westminster ahead of the State Opening of Parliament in the House of Lords, London (Toby Melville/PA)

Voters are more focused on the cost of living than Partygate or Beergate but are more likely to want Boris Johnson to resign than Sir Keir Starmer, new polling shows.

Half of people surveyed between May 6-10 told polling company Ipsos they thought Boris Johnson should resign while only 36% thought the same of Sir Keir Starmer.

That figure rose to 40% when Ipsos asked whether the Labour leader should resign if he is fined by Durham Police over his beer and curry, as he has promised to do.

But far more people said their opinion of the two men was formed by their policies on the cost of living than whether or not they stuck to Covid restrictions.

(PA Graphics)

Only 30% of people said the question of whether the Prime Minister stuck to the rules was important in informing their opinion of Mr Johnson, compared to 47% who cited his policies on the cost of living.

For Sir Keir, 19% said they based their opinion on whether he followed Covid laws while 42% said his policies on the cost of living mattered.

Keiran Pedley, director of political research at Ipsos, said: “These numbers suggest Partygate is more damaging to Boris Johnson than Beergate is for Keir Starmer, at least for now.

“The public appear to be following stories about Boris Johnson breaking Covid rules more closely than stories about Keir Starmer and they are keener to see the Prime Minister resign than the Labour leader.

“However, in many ways, such discussions are a distraction from the most important issue on voters’ minds, the cost of living.

“The public are following stories about the cost of living more closely and are more likely to judge both Johnson and Starmer on how they respond to that, rather than whether they followed Covid rules during the pandemic.”

Some 81% of people told Ipsos they were following stories about the rising cost of living closely, while 68% are following stories of Mr Johnson being accused of rule breaking and 56% were following the allegations about Sir Keir’s conduct.

Around the same number of people, 54%, said they were following stories about last week’s local elections.

While Sir Keir has promised to resign if he receives a fixed penalty notice, Mr Johnson, who has been fined, has so far refused to step down and suggestions on Wednesday morning that he should follow the Labour leader’s example were dismissed as “bonkeroony” by Communities Secretary Michael Gove.

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