Telegraph accused of misrepresenting public position on proroguing parliament after 'dodgy' poll

PUBLISHED: 08:28 13 August 2019 | UPDATED: 13:02 13 August 2019

The front page of the Telegraph. Photograph: Twitter.

The front page of the Telegraph. Photograph: Twitter.

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The Telegraph has been accused of commissioning a 'dodgy poll' which claims that the public backs Boris Johnson proroguing parliament to implement a No-Deal Brexit.

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The right-wing pro-Brexit newspaper leads on polling from ComRes which claimed that more than half (54%) support proroguing parliament to deliver Brexit.

But what the data shows is that when the 19% who said 'don't know' are included this falls to less than half (44%) compared to 37% who disagree.

The polling itself has been criticised for "leading" questions too. It refers to the prime minister as "Boris", and asks the public if it supports "any means" rather than explicitly just proroguing parliament.

Ben Page, chief executive of Ipsos MORI, tweeted: "Telegraph reporting taking the piss by ignoring "don't knows" to present an apparent majority."

Political polling commentator Mike Smithston wrote: "I can't recall a national opinion poll for a leading newspaper being so criticized as tonight's one from ComRes for the Daily Telegraph. To think that just 4 years ago after the 2015 general election ComRes was regarded as the top pollster."

Professor Will Jennings from the University of Southampton said: "Why is this dire? Aside from excluding "don't knows" and then misleadingly reporting as a percentage of 'the British public', there is way too much going on in the survey question and it is leading as well."

MORE: Former YouGov president Peter Kellner on how the Telegraph got it wrong with its no-deal Brexit polling

Laurence Janta-Lipinski, a pollster who has worked with YouGov, wrote: "Nobody should be surprised that it's a ComRes poll, for the Telegraph accompanied by a press release (from ComRes) that could have been written by Dom Cummings for Boris Johnson."

Best for Britain CEO Naomi Smith said it a "dodgy poll" that wasn't fooling anyone.

"Of course the British people aren't in favour of democracy being suspended.

"There is no mandate for no-deal and no mandate for proroguing parliament. Forcing Brexit through like this would be undemocratic in the extreme.

"If the prime minister really believes he has the public's support, he should ask them in a final say with the option to stay."

MORE: How the Telegraph became a propaganda tool for Boris Johnson

MORE: Poll which newspapers claimed showed no-deal Brexit support actually reveals public backs Remain

Separate polling by YouGov in June asked whether the public supports or opposes proroguing parliament to force a no-deal Brexit through and found 47% opposed it and just 24% supported it.

"Unfortunately, this never made it onto the front page of a newspaper," wrote YouGov's Chris Curtis.

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