MPs' Standards Poll April 2021

This page first posted 22 April 2021

Working with pollster Find Out Now, Electoral Calculus has run a poll on the public's attitudes to MPs standards, cronies and lobbyists.

Following recent accusations of cronyism and high-level lobbying, we conducted a poll to see what the public thinks. This wasn't entirely our own idea, since many of the concerns had been voiced directly by the public in an earlier poll where people could suggest their own issues.

The poll shows strong public disillusionment with MPs standards. The public think that MPs are not accountable enough, and that they are overpaid. The public is also very strongly opposed to lying by politicians, and think those who do should lose office. There very large majorities for all these propositions.

On the topical questions of cronyism and lobbying, there were also clear majorities for taking more action on these issues.

Poll questions

We asked people if they agreed or disagreed with some statements about MPs's standards. These are shown in the table below.

Question: "Do you agree or disagree that:"Don't KnowDisagree StronglyDisagreeNeutralAgreeAgree Strongly
Politicians should be held more accountable for their actions4%4%1%6%25%61%
Politicians who lie should lose office3%2%1%7%31%55%
More should be done to prevent cronyism in awarding public contracts16%2%0%9%22%51%
More should be done to control and limit lobbying of the government14%2%2%13%32%37%

There was very strong agreement with the first two statements. People felt overwhelming that politicians are not accountable enough, and that they should lose office if they don't tell the truth. Each of these propositions had the support of over 85pc of those who took the poll, even including those who didn't know.

On cronyism and lobbying, a still substantial majority of 73pc and 69pc respectively thought that more should be done to tackle abuses. Less than 5pc of the population disagreed.

These results can also be seen in graphical form.

Graph of responses to MPs Standards poll

We also asked about MPs' salaries to judge the public's mood on these. The public could have hardly been clearer: they think MPs are overpaid and that their pay should be reduced.

QuestionDon't KnowToo low and should be increasedAbout rightToo high and should be reduced
MPs' annual salaries are currently £81,932. Do you think this is:8%3%27%62%

A clear majority, 62pc of respondents, think that MPs pay is too high and should be reduced. Only 30pc of people think it is either about right or too low. A further 8pc of people weren't sure. This can be seen in graphical terms in the graph below.

Graph of responses to MPs salary question


The public does not have a high opinion of MPs and politicians at the moment. They are perceived as not sufficiently accountable, as overpaid, and the public is worried about their truthfulness. People are also worried about cronyism and lobbying and think that more should be done on these topics.

Chris Holbrook, CEO of Find Out Now, said "The lobbying issue has clearly touched a nerve with the general public. Our research suggests it could become a serious issue at forthcoming elections."

Martin Baxter, CEO of Electoral Calculus, said "The public are very concerned about MPs' standards and think that they are unaccountable, overpaid, and at risk from cronies and lobbyists. The strength of ublic feeling could be a problem for the Government, since some of poll numbers are nearly off the scale."

These feelings are difficult for politicians to deal with, especially for those in government. But, left unaddressed, these feelings could lead to sea changes in public opinion and voting intention. The stakes may be higher than political insiders think.


Find Out Now polled 2,000 GB adults online on 21 April 2021. The sample was chosen to be nationally representative by gender, age, social grade and past voting patterns. Percentages shown exclude those who preferred not to give an opinion, but include don't knows.

Full tables.

Find Out Now is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.