Coronavirus: Nearly two-thirds of Brits support parties forming national unity government to tackle crisis

James Morris
Senior news reporter, Yahoo News UK
The majority of Brits support the idea of opposition parties such as Sir Keir Starmer's Labour joining forces with Boris Johnson's Conservatives during the COVID-19 crisis. (PA)

Almost two-thirds of Brits support a national unity government forming during the coronavirus crisis, new research has suggested.

A YouGov poll found 63% of people supported the idea of the main political parties coming together for the duration of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Just 17% were opposed to the prospect, with 20% unsure.

Even a majority of Conservative voters from the 2019 election – 54% – supported the idea. Some 76% of Labour voters backed it, with 84% of Liberal Democrat voters in support.

Sir Keir Starmer, the new Labour leader, did not give a clear answer when asked about the matter on ITV’s Peston show.

He only said “the Labour Party under my leadership will be constructive and pull together in the national interest, having the courage to support the government when right to do so, but also having the courage to challenge them where they are getting it wrong or going too slowly”.

Latest coronavirus news, updates and advice

Live: Follow all the latest updates from the UK and around the world

Fact-checker: The number of COVID-19 cases in your local area

6 charts and maps that explain how COVID-19 is spreading

Sir Keir said he has “agreed arrangements” with Boris Johnson about Labour’s position and added there is a “proper role for scrutiny here”.

Yahoo News UK has sought an official stance from the SNP, the third biggest party in Parliament, but has not yet received a response.

The Liberal Democrats are Westminster’s fourth biggest party, with a party source rejecting the idea despite the strong support among its voters.

They told Yahoo News UK: “We think it’s really important we scrutinise as an opposition. The government has in the past listened to the opposition and changed policy.

“What we do think is really important is there should be a new coronavirus select committee which is chaired by the leader of the opposition [Sir Keir].

“This will create more scrutiny which we think should be done in a constructive way.”

Coronavirus: what happened today

Click here to sign up to the latest news, advice and information with our daily Catch-up newsletter

The difference between coronavirus and hay fever symptoms