Thursday, 26 Nov 2020

Labour crisis: Starmer suffers double hit in the polls following suspension of Corbyn

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Mr Corbyn was suspended from the party, pending an investigation, on October 29, following his response to a damning anti-Semitism report. The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) found Labour broke equality law during the leadership of Mr Corbyn. The Islington North MP, who was replaced as leader in April, was suspended after he said the scale of Labour anti-Semitism had been “dramatically overstated for political reasons” by his opponents “inside and outside the party”.

A subsequent YouGov poll has suggested support for both the party as a whole and its leader Sir Kier Starmer has plummeted.

The survey asked “do you have a favourable or unfavourable opinion of the following”.

Between October 21-22, 35 percent of people had a favourable opinion of Labour, with 46 percent having an unfavourable opinion – resulting in a net score of -11.

Between October 29-30, the days after Mr Corbyn’s suspension, just 33 percent had a favourable opinion, with unfavourable rising to 56 percent – resulting in a net score of -23.

The popularity of Sir Keir also took a massive hit in the same period.

In the days before the news of the anti-Semitism report and the subsequent suspension of Mr Corbyn, Sir Keir had an approval rating of plus five.

The poll found 41 percent viewed the Labour leader favourably, with just 36 percent thinking the opposite.

However, a week later the poll found support for Sir Keir fallen by seven points and into negative territory.

The survey conducted between October 29-30, found just 38 percent had a favourable opinion of Sir Keir, with 40 percent now having an unfavourable opinion – resulting in a net score of minus two.

The bombshell EHRC report released last week found three breaches of the Equality Act relating to political interference in complaints, failure to provide adequate training to those handling anti-Semitism cases and harassment.

The report concluded the party was responsible for unlawful acts of harassment and discrimination and found evidence of “political interference” in the complaints process by Mr Corbyn’s office.

Mr Corbyn described the decision to have the whip withdrawn as a “political intervention”.

He said: “I will strongly contest the political intervention to suspend me.

“I’ve made absolutely clear those who deny there has been an anti-Semitism problem in the Labour Party are wrong.”

Sir Keir has stood by the decision to suspend Mr Corbyn and has insisted there is “no reason for a civil war” within the party.

Speaking last Friday, he said: “I was very disappointed. A difficult decision was then taken yesterday in relation to his suspension, which I fully support.

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“It was a difficult decision, as you can imagine. It was the right decision, it was the general secretary’s decision using the powers that he’s got.

“But leadership sometimes involves difficult decisions, and that’s why I set out my response in the way that I did.”

He added: “I want to unite the party. Factional fighting has been a real problem in recent years and I stood as leader of the Labour Party on the base of uniting the party and driving factionism out of it.”

The YouGov poll was conducted using a sample size of 1,891 UK adults.

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