Who would be a good Prime Minister?

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JMU Journalism poll result: 1) Boris Johnson; 2) Ed Miliband ; 3) Stephen Fry (Pics: © Wikipedia; Miliband © Trinity Mirror)

Perhaps we all sometimes think we could run the country better than the politicians, but who would you choose to be our Prime Minister if you could nominate anyone?

We thought it would be a question worth putting to the public and so it proved as a fascinating and diverse set of answers emerged from our unique street poll.

JMU Journalism sent out a team of more than 70 reporters and asked 374 people in Liverpool city centre: “Who do you think would be a good Prime Minister? It could be a politician or someone famous or whoever you think, but they must be alive and British.”

Top poll answers

Boris Johnson –  54
Ed Miliband – 39
Stephen Fry – 26
David Cameron – 13
Simon Cowell – 11
Richard Branson – 11
Keith Lemon – 10
David Miliband – 10
Jeremy Clarkson – 9
Steven Gerrard – 6
David Beckham – 6
Tony Blair – 5
John Bishop – 5

A clear – and surprising – winner emerged… in the form of London’s controversial, comedic, Conservative Mayor Boris Johnson.

Johnson received 54 nominations – more than 14% of the total – with a geographical split of just over 50% (28) of the votes by people from Merseyside, with the other 26 being visitors to the region.

Although he has widespread popularity nationally, his poll victory locally is all the more remarkable as he has twice been forced to publicly apologise for comments about Liverpool following a 2004 leader article in The Spectator magazine, where he was editor at the time.

In the piece, The Spectator said: “[Liverpudlians] see themselves whenever possible as victims, and resent their victim status; yet at the same time they wallow in it.”

With regard to the Hillsborough tragedy, it said the city of Liverpool failed to acknowledge “the part played in the disaster by drunken fans at the back of the crowd who mindlessly tried to fight their way into the ground”.

It added: “The police became a convenient scapegoat, and the Sun newspaper a whipping-boy for daring, albeit in a tasteless fashion, to hint at the wider causes of the incident.”

Johnson, then an MP, was forced by Conservative party leader Michael Howard to visit Liverpool to say sorry for the remarks.

In light of the recent Hillsborough Independent Panel report, Johnson again apologised, adding: “I’m very, very glad that this report does lay to rest the false allegation that was made at the time about the behaviour of those fans.”

A number of our poll participants chose Johnson because they felt he was “funny”, had “charisma” and was “down to earth”.

Liverpool pensioner Audrey Turner, 82, said of Johnson: “I like him. I think he has a lot of oomph and I like his blond hair.”

Comedy character Keith Lemon received just three fewer votes than PM David Cameron in our poll © Wikipedia

Jean Dupree, 43, of Liverpool said: “Boris Johnson, I like his policies and he’s also a bit eccentric.”

In second place, receiving 39 nominations – over 10% of the total – was Labour leader Ed Miliband, with only three of his votes coming from outside of Merseyside.

In third place was TV personality, actor and author, Stephen Fry.

Tony Ranscanee, 31, from Wavertree said: “Stephen Fry… because he’s a smart bloke and anyone’s better than David Cameron.”

Current PM Cameron did not make the top three as he placed fourth with only two more votes than Simon Cowell and Richard Branson, and three more than fictional TV character Keith Lemon.

Selected others

David Moyes – 4
Cheryl Cole – 4
Lord Sugar – 4
Kenny Dalglish – 3
The Queen – 3
Dizzee Rascal – 2
Sir Alex Ferguson – 2
Margaret Thatcher – 2
Nick Clegg – 2
Jeremy Paxman – 2
Katie Price – 2

Not one woman appeared in the top 12, and John Jackson, 29, from Blackburn was one of four people who opted for top-placed female, Geordie singer Cheryl Cole. She received one more nomination than The Queen.

He said: “Cheryl Cole… I think she’s got what it takes and she’s clued up. She knows more than she lets on. People will stop and listen to her.”

In total, there were 130 different responses – some much more light-hearted than others – and although many respondents chose themselves, they were not included in the final tally.

Possibly the most unexpected answer was ex-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who has been generally unpopular in Liverpool ever since the 1980s.

One of her two backers, 71-year-old Terry Wheatley from Walton, said: “Margaret Thatcher. When she said she’d do something she did it. If she couldn’t deliver she wouldn’t promise.”

Scroll through the comments below to read our full poll result answers.

Additional reporting by: Josh Parry; Rebecca Cookson; John Elsworth; Karen Coe; Hannah Anderson; Kieran Etoria-King; Alicia Birt; Georgia Dunning; Lyndon Cole; Kaltun Abdillahi; James Busby; Niamh Conway; Jonathan Coupe; Jake Cottrill; Hollie Bradbury; Tasha Clinch, Martin Abbott; Katie Dodson; Anthony Fisher; Liam Cotton; Steph Bewley; Catherine Cunningham; Connor Dunn; Owen Swift; Adrian Speed; Kamilia Noorani; Beth Rogers; James Tomlinson; Lauren Pulford; Josie Timms; Laura Schumann; Hannah Perselli; Charlotte Woodford; Imogen Sweeney; Shanaine Munroe; Danny Wright; Megan Hill; Natalie Townsend; Daniel O’Brien; Jake Pittman; Jovan Stajic; Bethan Tolley; Georgina Whitworth; Lydia Morris; Josie O’Sullivan; Sam Peers; Kayleigh Watthey; Emily Lewis; Luke Holliday; Lewis Mellor; Angharad Millington; Josh Handscomb; Emma Groves; Ben Matthews; Matthew Judge; Melissa McFarlane; Dan Goulding; Ruby Molyneux; Sophie Lockett; Josh Kelsall; Eleanor Finn; Holly Jones; Adam Jones; Jonny McDowell; Amy Holdsworth; Emma Marsden; Billy McClure; Alice Kershaw; Sarah Hancocks; Amy Nicholson; Emma Menio; Michael Glynn;  Samantha Gaulter-Green; Olivia Swayne-Atherton; Jana Sutenko; Richard Eves; Daniel Wilson; Jamie Bradshaw; Conor Gregory & Sean Purvis.

About John Mathews, Editorial Director