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David Cameron losing public trust on EU referendum, poll finds

The poll also claims that just two per cent of the public believe George Osborne, the Chancellor, is a natural leader

Ashley Cowburn
Wednesday 25 May 2016 11:15 BST
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Just 18 per cent of respondents told YouGov they trusted Mr Cameron the EU referendum
Just 18 per cent of respondents told YouGov they trusted Mr Cameron the EU referendum

Public trust in David Cameron over his position on the European Union referendum has tumbled, a new poll has revealed.

It comes amid reports the Prime Minister could face a vote of no-confidence by his own MPs over his handling of the referendum. On Tuesday it was claimed that “dozens” of Tory MPs are frustrated at the Prime Minister for his conduct during the campaign, including endorsing a Treasury dossier on the effects of Brexit described by Boris Johnson as “hoax”.

According to the new poll Mr Johnson is now the most trusted on the EU referendum – with 31 per cent – despite being accused of “dog whistle racism” in the campaign over controversial remarks about Barack Obama’s Kenyan heritage. The former London Mayor criticised the US President for his intervention in the referendum debate, adding his attitude to Britain might be based on his “part-Kenyan” heritage and “dislike of the British Empire”.

Just 18 per cent respondents said they trust Mr Cameron on the EU and the referendum. A similar poll had the Prime Minister on 35 per cent in November last year.

What to believe about the EU referendum

The YouGov poll for the Times places Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, in second place on 28 per cent and Nigel Farage, the Ukip leader, on 22 per cent. Theresa May and Michael Gove trail behind the Prime Minister on 17 and 16 per cent respectively.

Iain Duncan Smith, the former Work and Pensions Secretary, who has been a vocal advocate of Brexit and has participated in “blue-on-blue” attacks in recent days, came out in third place with 25 per cent of public trust.

The Times poll also found that the fate of Britain’s membership of the EU was neck and neck, with both Remain and Leave camps tied on 41 per cent. Around 13 per cent said they do not know how to vote and four per cent claimed they would not vote.

Interestingly, the poll also claims that just two per cent of the public believe George Osborne – the Chancellor who is widely expected to stand for leader when Mr Cameron steps aside – is a natural leader. One in five attributed the quality to Mr Johnson while some 33 per cent believe the former London Mayor would be up to the job of leading the country.

The Chancellor’s leadership hopes have been dashed by a series of controversies in recent months, including the resignation of Mr Duncan Smith, and embarrassing U-turn's on tax credits and disability benefits. But in a test of his potential leadership abilities, he will today step in for Mr Cameron at Prime Minister’s Questions and face Labour’s shadow Business Secretary Angela Eagle.

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