Photograph: Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP
The polling transparency group had confirmed the client was part of the Conservative Britain Alliance. However, they say identifying its members ‘lies beyond its remit.’
The British Polling Council (BPC) carefully examined the polls, used to call for Sunak’s ousting, on Wednesday and Thursday before issuing a statement, which had said that “there is no reason at present to believe that YouGov have not met their obligations under its rules.”
According to YouGov, the two polls were commissioned by a mysterious group of Tory rebels, called the Conservative Britain Alliance, with the Tory peer David Frost acting as the intermediary. This caused a huge shock in Westminster when they were published in the Daily Telegraph last week.
The polls projected that the Conservatives were on the path to defeat, but that they could win if Sunak were replaced by a hypothetical Tory leader who cut taxes and immigration.
The Telegraph unveiled the findings alongside a piece by Lord Frost arguing Sunak’s current strategy was leading the party to annihilation.
This week, the Tory MP Simon Clarke cited the poll’s findings in an article calling for Sunak to be ousted.
The BPC discussed the controversy at its regular meeting on Wednesday. According to one of its committee members, they asked YouGov if it had documentation showing that the Conservative Britain Alliance was its client.
Nick Moon, secretary of the BPC, said on Thursday morning: “Under the rules of the BPC, YouGov must publish the details of the poll, including who their client was.
In the evening, the BPC issued a statement saying it was satisfied that the Conservative Britain Alliance was the client. It read:
“The BPC have been advised that this is the organisation that was responsible for commissioning the poll, and that therefore there is no reason at present to believe that YouGov have not met their obligations under its rules.”
This saga has unfortunately caused a headache for YouGov and has triggered calls for improved transparency around who pays for polling.
YouGov officially issued a clarification on Wednesday after heavy criticism of the section of the survey, which asked voters to choose between Labour leader Keir Starmer and an imaginary Tory leader who cut taxes, immigration and NHS waiting times.
“So long as [the Conservative Britain Alliance] were actually the client they’ve met the rules,” Moon said. “If I were to form the St Albans Walrus Protection Society, that body could go out and commission polls about walruses. Any polling company would be very happy to take my money.”
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