Peter Hoskin

Politicians take note: expenses controversy makes you less popular

Politicians take note: expenses controversy makes you less popular
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Uh-oh.  The grassroots have spoken, and it seems Eric Pickles has taken a hit for his recent car-crash performance on Question Time.  ConservativeHome's latest shadow cabinet ratings have the party chairman's approval rating dropping a full 20 percentage points - from 70 percent in February to 50 percent in March.

Of course, Eric Pickles' TV nightmare pales in comparison to the controversy that Jacqui Smith's got herself mired in, and that's reflected in a separate survey by Politics Home, also released today.  Their PHI100 'performance tracker' gives the Home Secretary the lowest score ever achieved by a member of the Cabinet.

I know, I know, it's pretty obvious that polticians will become less popular when they fiddle their expenses or appear to defend the whole dodgy system.  But sometimes they seem to be the first people to forget that that fact; at least if their stuttering defences and denials are anything to go by.  Hopefully, numbers like these will remind them of some electoral truths, and encourage the party leaders to deal with this mess.