Brown under election pressure after new poll

• 54 per cent want immediate election
• Only 45 per cent certain to vote

Gordon Brown is under growing pressure to call a general election after a new poll revealed that 54 per cent of the population favour an immediate election.

In the wake of the expenses scandal, David Cameron, the Conservative leader, has renewed his call for an election and many voters now want the opportunity to punish MPs who made excessive claims.

The Populus poll for ITV’s News at Ten, also surveyed voting intentions, with the Conservatives unchanged on 39 per cent and Labour up one to 27 per cent. The Liberal Democrats were the surprises losers, down five points to 17 per cent. Party leader Nick Clegg will be disappointed that the party has failed to capitalise from the expenses row.

Minority parties continued to benefit from protest votes against the mainstream parties. The UK Independence Party polled 6 per cent, while the British National Party was on 4 per cent.

The poll also revealed a rise in political alienation, with a low turnout expected at the 4 June local and European elections.

Only 45% of those polled said they were certain to vote, compared with the 61% turnout in 2005.

Populus director Rick Nye said: “All established political parties have been damaged by the row over MPs' expenses and so - it seems - has people's faith in the overall political process.

“The number of people who say they'll definitely vote at the next General Election has fallen by nearly a quarter since the row began, and fewer than half of the electorate now say they would turn out to vote.

“Outsiders seem to be the only beneficiaries in all this.”