Faced with widespread expense account abuse by lawmakers, a majority of Britons in a recent poll are calling for an early national election so they can choose a new Parliament.

Radio phone-ins were jammed Friday with voters debating the merits of an immediate national election, following a poll which showed that 54 percent of Britons want to go to the ballot box as soon as possible — despite the fact that Prime Minister Gordon Brown says now is not the time.

For the past 15 days, voters have been greeted by front-page splashes detailing lawmakers expense excesses. They have charged taxpayers for items ranging from moat cleaning to floating duck houses, chandelier installation and toilet seats.

The public, facing an economic crisis, is upset with lawmakers over using taxpayer money for things that have nothing to do with their jobs.

The political future of a senior lawmaker with the governing Labor Party was in doubt Friday after the Telegraph newspaper reported he claimed expenses for a London apartment that was home to his grown daughter and allegedly tried to cover up the arrangement.

An opposition Conservative Party lawmaker also was named Friday by the paper for claiming expenses on a property that was home to her daughter.

One lawmaker said members of Parliament are worried about more then just their jobs. Conservative lawmaker Nadine Dorries raised alarm bells over potential suicides among members of Parliament.

Dorries accused the Telegraph of launching a witchhunt resembling the 1950s campaign against suspected communists in the United States by the late Sen. Joseph McCarthy.

"I think people are seriously beginning to crack," she told BBC Radio Friday. "There is real serious concern that this has gotten to the point now which is almost unbearable for any human being to deal with."

The Conservative Party office later put out a statement saying her statements were made without its "authorization or support."

And some of Dorries' fellow lawmakers scoffed at the idea that members of Parliament were deserving of sympathy.

"McCarthy's victims were innocent and no MP is innocent. Even people who didn't claim were still complicit in the situation," Labor lawmaker Stephen Pound said.

The Populus Poll released Thursday night for ITV News showed 39 percent of voters support the Conservative Party — 12 points ahead of the 27 percent who back Brown's Labor Party.

Populus interviewed 1,000 adults by telephone this week, and gave a margin of error for the survey's results of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Numerous lawmakers from both parties have been caught up in the scandal, and the poll indicates voters are increasingly inclined to back fringe parties — with nearly one in five voters saying that's where their support lies.

Brown is required by law to call an election by the middle of next year. The lawmakers in his Labor party appear to be in bigger political trouble than their opposition rivals and have been pressuring Brown to take steps to boost the party's brand.

He is widely expected to reshuffle his Cabinet next month, possibly demoting some lawmakers tainted by the expense scandal.

While the majority of voters say they think a poll should be called as soon as possible, it's not clear that they all would end up turning out.

The scandal appears to have increased voter apathy. Only 45 percent of people polled said they were certain to vote in the next election, down from 57 percent before the revelations came out.