BUSINESS QUESTION – OPINION POLLS – 20 June 2002
Dr Julian Lewis: It is customary to debate the advisability of publishing opinion polls during election campaigns but may we have a statement from the Minister for the Cabinet Office on the advisability of publishing opinion polls between election campaigns? Recently, opinion polls have been showing support for the Labour Government going down, support for the Conservative Opposition going up and support for the Liberal Democrats doing neither one thing nor the other. This morning, an opinion poll suggests that 56 percent of the population find the Prime Minister untrustworthy and unreliable. Surely the Government should be very worried about that indeed.
[Robin Cook: For some years now, Conservative party spokesmen, when asked about opinion polls, have been saying that they do not believe them. That seems a judicious, sensible and mature approach. I suggest that the Conservative party do not immediately abandon it the one time that it gets an opinion poll that it might find encouraging. The only poll that really matters is the poll on polling day and, broadly speaking, we are quite satisfied with the past two results.]