You're fired! Public prefer Sugar to Osborne in No 11

By politics.co.uk staff

British voters would prefer Alan Sugar or Richard Branson to take charge of Britain's economy from George Osborne, a poll out today suggests.

Research by Vision Critical found just 14% of the 2,017 UK consumers questioned wanted to keep the chancellor in his job.

Osborne's popularity fell short of the 23% of those polled who preferred Alan Sugar, currently a peer in the Lords, to take on the job.

Sugar, who was ennobled after agreeing to assist New Labour in government in its last years, was beaten by Virgin boss Branson, however, who was backed by 39%.

"Despite having less of a media presence than some of the other possible chancellor candidates lately, Sir Richard Branson's reputation was enough to make him a clear winner in the poll for men and women, across all age ranges and in all UK regions," business development director John Miles of Gocompare.com, which commissioned the poll, said.

Branson has had by far the biggest impact on British politics this year of the other 'alternative chancellor' candidates, which included Dragon's Den star Theo Paphitis and inventor Sir James Dyson in joint third place.

The Virgin chief successfully challenged the Department of Transport's processes after officials gave the west coast mainline franchise to rival train operator FirstGroup over his Virgin Trains company.

There are no major economists in the poll, which suggests the public is guided primarily by what it watches on television rather than a detailed knowledge of expertise in macroeconomics.

Karren Brady, Sugar's assistant on The Apprentice, was fifth, ahead of Dragon's Den Hilary Devey and Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone.