Opinion polls say Britain’s main political parties are likely to cede ground to marginal groups in next month’s European elections because of the parliamentary expenses scandal. Queen Elizabeth is also reported to have voiced her concern over the growing row to Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
Labour seems certain to be hardest-hit in the run up to the Euro and local elections. It is forecast to win just 21 per cent of the projected vote compared with 40 per cent for the opposition Conservatives. Many voters appear to be disillusioned by the expenses scandal. “The Labour party wasn’t in the best place it’s ever been to start with, said one woman. “I would like to think that the people would take a measured approach and say, it’s a cross-party issue. But I suspect the reality at the ballot box will be very different.” Another female voter said: “This is about how you trust the people that represent you. So, I think it would be very difficult for us, locally.” Former Labour minister Elliot Morley and his Labour colleague David Chaytor have been suspended from the party after admitting claiming for mortgages that had already been paid. Shahid Malik, a junior Justice Minister has also been forced to stand down pending an inquiry into his expenses. A poll for the Mail on Sunday newspaper found just 17 per cent of voters planned to back Labour, the same number who have pledged to support the Eurosceptic UK Independence Party.