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Majority of MSPs and MPs think Nicola Sturgeon is handling the coronavirus crisis well

MPs' and MSPs' views on Nicola Sturgeon - Image credit: Dods

Majority of MSPs and MPs think Nicola Sturgeon is handling the coronavirus crisis well

A majority of both MSPs and MPs think Nicola Sturgeon is handling the coronavirus crisis well, according to an opinion poll by the Dods Group.

Of those that responded to the survey, 58 per cent of MPs and 67 per cent of MSPs said the First Minister had performed well.

Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer had slightly lower approval ratings, with Sunak getting 50 per cent approval from MPs and 53 per cent from MSPs, while Starmer had 45 per cent approval from MPs and 43 per cent from MSPs.

However, Boris Johnson received a majority verdict of not good enough, with two thirds of MPs (66 per cent) and 81 per cent of MSPs saying he had performed quite or very badly.

It was a similar picture for the two governments, with 58 per cent of MSPs satisfied with the Scottish Government’s handling of the crisis, but 62 per cent of MPs dissatisfied with the UK Government’s handling of it and only nine per cent saying they were ‘very satisfied’.

In the EU, MEPs were more split, with 39 per cent of MEPs satisfied and 27 per cent dissatisfied with the EU’s handling of the crisis.

Only 11 per cent of MSPs were very dissatisfied with the Scottish Government handling of COVID-19 compared to 27 per cent of MPs with the UK Government.

In Scotland 57 per cent of MSPs thought the Scottish Government was prepared for future waves of the virus and 74 per cent were confident in the NHS’s ability to cope.

But 59 per cent of MPs said the UK Government was not prepared for future waves and only 53 per cent were confident that the NHS could cope.

Asked how the UK Government has performed during the pandemic, 63 per cent of MPs and 78 per cent of MSPs said quite or very badly.

The media, too, came in for criticism, with 40 per cent of MSPs and 42 per cent of MPs saying it had performed quite or very badly.

In terms of economic recovery after the virus, the majority of MSPs thought it would take up to five years for the Scottish economy to recover, with most of the remaining MSPs split between a response of more than a year or more than five years.

Just over a third of MPs – 36 per cent – believe it will take over five years for the UK economy to recover, with the remaining nearly two thirds split between more than a year and up to five years.

Other questions in the poll asked about universal basic income (UBI), support for the economy, digital technology and the environment.

Jobs were rated to be the highest priority in economic recovery, but while MPs and MEPs thought that governments and the EU were not doing enough, 51 per cent of MSPs were satisfied with what the Scottish Government is doing.

A majority of MSPs and MEPs were in favour of UBI, but a majority of MPs were against it.

Within the UK the poll found it was felt that climate change was being sidelined due to COVID, with 61 per cent of MPs and 68 per cent of MSPs agreeing with that, although MEPs did not think so.

Digital technology was also high on the agenda, with 81 per cent of MPs and 71 per cent of MSPs saying we should be doing more to make sure everyone has access to technology, while 77 per cent of MPs and 61 per cent of MSPs wanted a review of the current cyber security legislation.

There was also widespread backing for the need to find an alternative to plastic, with 77 per cent of MPs, 88 per cent of MSPs and 90 per cent of MEPs supporting that.

The report concludes: “Our new research has revealed divergences of opinion within the UK governments and the EU when it comes to the handling of the crisis, the response of certain organisations and individuals and economic recovery priorities.

“There is some common ground on what life will look like after the pandemic, but it’s a collectively pessimistic picture from within Brussels, Holyrood and Westminster: taxes are likely to increase, public finances will be tight, with some tough spending choices to be made, and unemployment will rise.

“MPs, MSPs and MEPs all agree that against this backdrop, trust in politicians is low.

“And yet, 2021 is an opportunity for policymakers to learn from the mistakes of an extraordinary year for global economies and societies – and rebuild future prosperity, competitiveness and resilience for the UK and Europe.”

The poll was carried out in October and November 2020, providing a total sample of 279 elected members and peers, made up of 45 MPs, 91 peers, 63 MSPs and 80 MEPs.

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