The Government used public money to pay for polling about Keir Starmer and Sadiq Khan, newly revealed emails suggest

And despite civil servants saying they were “uncomfortable” with the deal, emails show Dominic Cummings pressuring officials to sign off cash for polling, telling anyone who would “whine” about it that it was an order from Boris Johnson.

Documents released during a High Court case show officials discussing polling carried out by private firm Hanbury Strategy – whose founders included ex-Vote Leave staff – on how credible Government spokespeople are against key opposition figures.

The emails, published by the Good Law Project (GLP), show civil servants were uncomfortable about the polling, with one saying in May 2020: “Hanbury measure attitudes towards political figures, which they shouldn’t do using government money, but they’ve been asked to and it’s a battle that I think is hard to fight.”

Another email uncovered by GLP shows Dominic Cummings pushing civil servants to approve the cash for polling from Hanbury – whose founder is former Vote Leave Comms chief Paul Stephenson.

In total, the Cabinet Office and Treasury have handed almost £1.3 million worth of contracts to Hanbury since the start of the pandemic, for polling and focus groups, according to official records.

Details of the contracts and subjects of the polling have been redacted in published documents.

 

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