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65% of Tory members want Alan Duncan to resign

TheGaffer A poll of 1,622 Tory members carried out today finds the following;

  • 65% want Alan Duncan to resign and 55% think he should be sacked.
  • A massive 91% think he should be moved from his current job where he has a role in deciding Conservative policy on MPs’ expenses and allowances.
  • 61% are dissatisfied with Alan Duncan's performance. 31% are satisfied.  This makes him the least popular member of the shadow cabinet.
  • 38% agreed that "Alan Duncan was telling the truth - the antagonism toward MPs has gone too far."  52% disagreed.
  • 65% agreed "There is now a real problem of high calibre people being discouraged from entering politics."  32% disagreed.

Mr Cameron intervened at lunchtime to say that Alan Duncan was safe for now:

"I spoke to Alan Duncan yesterday and made it clear in no uncertain terms that when it comes to the mess of expenses, the words we use, just as the actions we take, have got to demonstrate completely that we share the public's real fury at what went on in parliament. Alan made a bad mistake and he has acknowledged that, he has apologised and withdrawn the remarks."

Watch the Conservative leader recorded by Sky News.

I've set out my own views in an article about to go live on The Guardian's website.  Here are my key arguments:

"During the worst moments of the recent expenses crisis MPs consoled themselves with the thought that public anger would subside and life would return to some sort of normal.  Listening to BBC radio phone-ins earlier today – in response to Alan Duncan’s “rations” remarks – there is no sign that the public have softened in their view of the political class...

David Cameron has ‘got it’ pretty much from day one of this whole saga but Mr Duncan’s reigniting of public anger is a warning that the Conservative leader cannot afford to relax on the issue.  Front page splashes across this morning’s Mail and Telegraph will have caused anger at Conservative HQ.  The Daily Express has called for Mr Duncan to be fired.  David Cameron has resisted these calls and after publicly rebuking Alan Duncan has declared the matter closed.  Most Tory members wish he hadn’t...

The Tory grassroots are often caricatured as being out-of-touch but on the issue of expenses (at the very least) they are more understanding of the public mood than the paid politicians they work so hard to elect.  Conservative Party members actually have some sympathy for the view that the current antagonism towards politicians may be unhealthy for our democracy and might discourage good people from entering politics.  But with homes being repossessed and people losing their jobs this is no time for politicians to be moaning minnies."

I'll post a link to the full article once it goes up.  Here it is.

Tim Montgomerie

Two footnotes:

  • The survey results are collected in two ways. By emailing a list of Panel members who together correctly predicted the outcome of the 2005 Tory leadership race and by an open internet link.  Because the open internet link is vulnerable to infiltration we carry out various comparisons between the results it produces and the results of the control panel so that significant manipulation of these polls is impossible.
  • I worry that some people might see homophobia in these results.  So it is worth noting that - until quite recently - the openly gay Alan Duncan stood near the top of the shadow cabinet league table as voted upon by Tory members.  He has slumped since the expenses controversy.


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