British public support for BP still strong despite Oil spill disaster
The British public is still backing oil giant BP despite the calamitous Gulf of Mexico spill, a survey has found.
A poll commissioned for the Financial Times showed only 33% of Britons thought any less of the firm following the catastrophe — now the world's worst oil spill.
More than one in five UK respondents added that their attitude remained positive or had actually improved — in contrast with the US, where nearly two thirds now think less of BP.
Nearly five million barrels of oil have flooded into the Gulf since the Deepwater Horizon explosion on April 20, which killed 11 workers.
The Harris online poll surveyed more than 6,000 adults in the UK, US, France, Germany, Spain and Italy at the end of July.
BP will hope that the appointment of its new chief executive, American Bob Dudley, will ease the pressure on the firm across the Atlantic, where it makes around a third of its profits.
Former boss Tony Hayward, who resigned at the end of July, became a hate figure for many Americans after a series of public relations blunders — including telling one reporter that “he wanted his life back”.
White House officials and President Obama himself also stoked anti-British sentiment by constantly referring to BP by its old name of British Petroleum during the early stages of the crisis.
But the political strain on BP has eased since the group agreed a $20bn (£12.5bn) |compensation fund in June |for those businesses affected by the spill.