50 per cent think “Bigotgate” was a “storm in a teacup”

Another poll finding conspicuously ignored by the Sun.

A significant number of commentators claimed yesterday that Gordon Brown's "bigot" gaffe spelled certain political death for the Prime Minister. The Telegraph's Benedict Brogan claimed, for instance, that the gaffe "might finish off Mr Brown altogether".

But an instant Sun/YouGov poll on the affair suggests that this may not be the case. The tabloid, again using censorship by omission, has chosen not to publish the result, but as Liberal Democrat Voice's Mark Pack helpfully points out, it can be found on the polling group's website.

The survey found that 50 per cent of voters agree with the statement that:

It's a storm in a teacup. Mr Brown was simply trying to let off steam in private. We should not think the worse of him.

While 46 per cent believe that:

Mr Brown is a hypocrite -- saying one thing in public and the opposite in private. Now we know just how much he despise [question truncated on results sheet . . . ]

That half the country believes the affair was a "storm in a teacup" may convince Labour strategists that Brown can safely afford to ignore the issue in tonight's debate (although, if he is tempted to lance the boil this evening, he could worse than lift the text suggested by my colleague James Macintyre).

We'll get a better idea of what this means for voting intentions when the latest daily YouGov survey, the first poll to be carried out in full after the affairs, is published this evening.

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George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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Jeremy Corbyn fans are getting extremely angry at the wrong Michael Foster

He didn't try to block the Labour leader off a ballot. He's just against hunting with dogs. 

Michael Foster was a Labour MP for Worcester from 1997 to 2010, where he was best known for trying to ban hunting with dogs. After losing his seat to Tory Robin Walker, he settled back into private life.

He quietly worked for a charity, and then a trade association. That is, until his doppelganger tried to get Jeremy Corbyn struck off the ballot paper. 

The Labour donor Michael Foster challenged Labour's National Executive Committee's decision to let Corbyn automatically run for leadership in court. He lost his bid, and Corbyn supporters celebrated.

And some of the most jubilant decided to tell Foster where to go. 

Foster told The Staggers he had received aggressive tweets: "I have had my photograph in the online edition of The Sun with the story. I had to ring them up and suggest they take it down. It is quite a common name."

Indeed, Michael Foster is such a common name that there were two Labour MPs with that name between 1997 and 2010. The other was Michael Jabez Foster, MP for Hastings and Rye. 

One senior Labour MP rang the Worcester Michael Foster up this week, believing he was the donor. 

Foster explained: "When I said I wasn't him, then he began to talk about the time he spent in Hastings with me which was the other Michael Foster."

Having two Michael Fosters in Parliament at the same time (the donor Michael Foster was never an MP) could sometimes prove useful. 

Foster said: "When I took the bill forward to ban hunting, he used to get quite a few of my death threats.

"Once I paid his pension - it came out of my salary."

Foster has never met the donor Michael Foster. An Owen Smith supporter, he admits "part of me" would have been pleased if he had managed to block Corbyn from the ballot paper, but believes it could have caused problems down the line.

He does however have a warning for Corbyn supporters: "If Jeremy wins, a place like Worcester will never have a Labour MP.

"I say that having years of working in the constituency. And Worcester has to be won by Labour as part of that tranche of seats to enable it to form a government."