Labour leadership race: Liz Kendall preferred by candidates who failed to win crucial seats

Poll suggests Ms Kendall is the favourite in Middle England areas

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The Independent Online

Liz Kendall is ahead of her rivals among Labour candidates in seats the party needed to win the last general election, a new poll has revealed.

The survey of 64 parliamentary candidates who failed to win seats on 7 May puts Ms Kendall ahead on first preferences, with 36 per cent, while Jeremy Corbyn is second on 22 per cent. Yvette Cooper and Andy Burnham are joint third on 17 per cent, the poll on behalf of the lobbying agency Westminster PA found.

Although the sample size is small, the results also reveal huge backing for Ms Cooper on second preferences, suggesting she is gaining ground as the “unity candidate”, with 49 per cent. Mr Burnham won 11 per cent of the second preference vote, with Ms Kendall and Mr Corbyn both on 6 per cent. While the results buck the trend shown in other surveys, they suggest Ms Kendall is the favourite in the Middle England, Tory-facing battleground areas.

Olly Kendall, managing director of Westminster PA, said: “Yvette Cooper’s strong showing in second preference votes has the potential to prove decisive.

“Crucially she wins second preference votes across the board – meaning that if she doesn’t get eliminated in the first stage of voting she has every chance of winning the leadership contest.”

Full results at westminsterpa.com.