Poll saying 5% of Northern Ireland trusts UK government is about protocol specifically

14 July 2022
What was claimed

In a recent opinion poll conducted by LucidTalk for Queen’s University, only 5% of the people of Northern Ireland expressed any trust whatsoever in this government.

Our verdict

Five percent of people said they either trusted a lot or somewhat trusted the UK government to manage the interests of Northern Ireland with respect to the Northern Ireland protocol.

In a recent opinion poll conducted by LucidTalk for Queen’s University, only 5% of the people of Northern Ireland expressed any trust whatsoever in this government.

During Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, Alliance MP Stephen Farry told the Prime Minister that a poll had shown only 5% of people in Northern Ireland expressed any trust whatsoever in the UK government.

But this isn’t quite what the poll he’s referring to found.

The poll, from Queen’s University Belfast and Belfast-based polling company LucidTalk asked people in Northern Ireland: “To what extent do you trust/distrust the following when it comes to managing the interests of Northern Ireland with respect to the Protocol?” 

It then listed a number of organisations including the UK government. Five percent of respondents said they either trusted UK government, or trusted it “a lot”, in that regard.

This is not quite the same as 5% saying they had any trust in the UK government “whatsoever”. 

Although Mr Farry went on to mention the protocol, he wasn’t clear that this poll was about how much trust people had in the government with regards to the protocol.

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What is “the Protocol”?

The protocol refers to the Northern Ireland protocol, part of the UK’s withdrawal agreement with the EU, which, among other things, ensures there are no checks on goods that move between Northern Ireland and Ireland (and thereby the rest of the EU). 

This means that goods going from Great Britain to Northern Ireland require checks to show they comply with the EU regulations.

At the moment, the UK government is trying to pass a bill that would make parts of the protocol invalid, and the EU has responded by saying it will “need to respond with all measures at its disposal”. 

The poll was conducted between 3 and 6 June 2022, before the government introduced this bill.

Full Fact was not able to find any reliable recent examples of polls that ask Northern Ireland residents if they trust the UK government in general.

Picture courtesy of Humphrey Muleba

Correction 14 July 2022

The headline of this article previously said the poll said 5% didn't trust the government, which was incorrect. We've now corrected it.

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