ITV news is more trusted than BBC after Lineker row and Sharp controversy

<span>Photograph: Guy Bell/REX/Shutterstock</span>
Photograph: Guy Bell/REX/Shutterstock

The BBC has slipped behind ITV as Britain’s most trusted news source in the wake of the row over Gary Lineker’s suspension, according to a new poll for the Observer.

The corporation remains one of the most trusted providers, according to the latest Opinium poll. Two in five trust BBC News and 26% distrust it, giving it a “net trust” of +14%. ITV recorded a net trust score of +23%.

It is a major change since the pollster last looked at the issue in August, when the BBC had a net rating of +21%, with ITV at +8%.

It comes after the BBC director general, Tim Davie, was forced to apologise after the corporation’s sports coverage was severely disrupted, as Lineker’s colleagues walked out in solidarity with him.

Lineker was suspended over social media comments he made about the government’s plans to tackle channel crossings, Lineker returned to TV screens yesterday, presenting live coverage of the FA Cup quarter-final between Manchester City and Burnley. prompting a row over the BBC’s political impartiality. The Guardian has since revealed messages dating from 2020 to 2022 that appear to show the BBC coming under pressure from No 10 over the corporation’s political reporting.

Related: Lineker row threatens to topple BBC chiefs and hit Tory asylum plans

The poll also reveals 24% think the BBC has a rightwing bias, 21% believe it has a leftwing bias and 26% think it is generally neutral.

The latest Opinium survey also shows that Labour retains a large poll lead over the Conservatives, suggesting there has not been a bounce after the budget for Rishi Sunak’s party. Labour remains on 44%, while the Conservative remain on 29%. The Lib Dems and SNP remain on 8% and 3% respectively.

Starmer’s personal ratings remain better than those of Sunak. The prime minister has a net approval rating of -8%, while Starmer has a net rating of 0. The pair remain closely aligned on who voters regard as the best prime minister. On that question, 28% chose Sunak, while 26% chose Starmer. Last week, those figures were reversed.