An exclusive BMG Poll commissioned by the Evening Standard reveals that almost two thirds of the British public think arrested MPs should be officially identified.
In the past when an MP was arrested his or her name was published by the House of Commons authorities. However, last month, on February 10 2016, MPs decided to change this approach and to withhold the identity of arrested MPs from the public. Supporters say releasing names could breach MPs’ right to privacy, damage innocent MPs’ reputation and it also means they are treated differently to other members of the public. However, critics say voters have a right to know when their MP is arrested.
The Evening Standard reported “In the last Parliament there were nine incidents where an MP was identified after arrest, leading to four occasions when either a charge was made or a fine or caution given. It also emerged that police were involved in five cases linked to MPs’ expenses, with none of the politicians identified.”
The results of the poll revealed 64% of the British public said the names should be published, 24% said they should not and 11% don’t know. UKIP and Labour supporters are most in favour of naming MPs after an arrest, with 77% and 74% saying so respectively, while around six in ten Conservative supporters are in favour (59%) and around a half of Lib Dem supporters are in favour (51%). Interestingly, even those who trust the government are in favour of MPs details being made public as soon as they are arrested (57% for naming, 35% against, and 8% don’t know).
Readers can interrogate the data themselves by toggling with the menu in the chart below.
BMG Research Director, Dr Michael Turner said “These results are clearly a symptom of the poor level of faith held in members of parliament by the full spectrum of the British public. Tragically for politicians, even the results from those who tend to trust government, usually cheerleaders for the political establishment, show a majority insisting that politician’s details should in fact be made public.”
An article based on these polling results, released by the Evening Standard, can be found here.
Data tables containing a breakdown of the results can be found here.
For further details about this poll, and any other results from our polling series, please feel free to get in touch by email or phone.
Lauren Harris – Research Executive
0121 333 6006