Trust in British politicians falls to sub-Romanian levels

By Peter Wozniak

Public trust in politicians fell dramatically since the expenses scandal – putting them below their peers in Romania and Italy, according to a survey.

The report by Eurobarometer compared levels of trust in political parties among the 27 EU countries.

It found that by Autumn 2009, trust in British political parties fell to nine per cent, down from 18% the previous year.

The data collected at the height of the expenses scandal confirms that the revelations caused a plummeting of trust between electors and elected.

The nine per cent figure put the UK political parties in 21st place amongst the 27 EU members, below Romania and Bulgaria – and well behind Scandinavian countries such as Denmark which topped the list with 50% trust levels.

Nonetheless, there also seemed to be a trend of renewed engagement from the public, with the number of people ‘very interested’ in politics increasing from 10.9% to 12.6% between 2006 and 2008.

The scandal continues to rumble on fitfully, with several MPs and a peer undergoing criminal prosecutions for fraud.

Their attempt to use the ancient legal defence of parliamentary privilege was blocked by the court of appeal.