Spending watchdog to probe Tory contracts with polling companies worth at least £833,000
- Credit: PA
Parliament's spending watchdog is to probe Downing Street's significant spend on opinion polling.
At least £833,000 has been spent on opinion polling in the first six months of the year, the Times report, more than the total spend the year before.
The figures put the government on track to spend £2 million by the end of the year, in comparison to £686,000 spent last year.
The spend covers key issues including Brexit and the coronavirus response.
One contract criticised in recent weeks was with a research company with links to Michael Gove and Dominic Cummings, and was agreed without an open tender for the work.
Now the public accounts committee has vowed to investigate the spend.
You may also want to watch:
'This is a big increase in funding,' said Meg Hillier, the Labour MP who chairs the committee. 'There are good reasons to engage with the public, but we should know more about how this money was spent and what benefit the polling has delivered to taxpayers.'
Rachel Reeves, the shadow Cabinet Office minister, demanded the government explain 'why spending these colossal sums on opinion polling is in the public interest and what the full purpose of this is'.
- 1 Betty Boothroyd delivers scathing assessment of Boris Johnson's government
- 2 House of Lords defies No 10 and votes to heavily defeat Boris Johnson's Brexit bill
- 3 Boris Johnson 'plans to resign' in six months because he can't live on £150k salary
- 4 ERG MP says Boris Johnson should consider cutting ties with Church of England following Brexit row
- 5 Labour MP calls Dan Wootton a 'complete and utter nutcase' following Covid-19 herd immunity comment
- 6 Government told to publish impact assessments for Boris Johnson's 'Narnia' deal with EU
- 7 Diane Abbott accuses Keir Starmer of having 'other motives' while shadow Brexit secretary
- 8 Theresa May brands Michael Gove's no-deal Brexit statement 'utter rubbish'
- 9 Brexiteer admits 'Australia-style deal' term designed to 'pull wool over voters' eyes'
- 10 Labour MP lashes out at Boris Johnson over £150k wage complaint during fiery debate on Manchester lockdown
'This Conservative government once claimed to follow the science during this crisis and we deserve to know if they've been chasing the polling instead,' she added.
Last month a Tory backbencher hit out at the figures, saying: A Tory backbencher hit out at the claims, by telling the newspaper: 'Leadership is about leading. The clue is in the name...
'We've taken an age to get shops and pubs open. At the moment we are seeing neither leadership or competence.'
A Cabinet Office spokesman said: 'During this unprecedented pandemic it has been vital that people follow public health messages to save lives.
'To that end we have a comprehensive programme of research to understand public attitudes and behaviour. This work has helped us to deliver communications campaigns to support the UK's response.'
Become a Supporter
The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.