Jeremy Corbyn loses local Labour Party support over EU referendum, bullying and poor poll performance

Local leaders say they have lost patience with his leadership after the EU campaign

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Indy Politics

Labour members’ enthusiasm for Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership has cooled since the start of the year, a survey has revealed. 

A survey of 100 constituencies across Britain by the Guardian found that support for Mr Corbyn had waned since his election in September last year due to his lacklustre performance in the EU referendum campaign and how badly the party is faring in the polls

The Constituency Labour Parties (CLPs) chair in Clacton, Essex - a seat currently held by Ukip MP Douglas Carswell - even said she hopes for a snap election so they can oust Mr Corbyn quickly as “that way we have a chance to build again”.

Kanti Chhabhadiya, the constituency secretary for Greenwich and Woolwich, said: “I think in Woolwich a lot of people changed their minds about Jeremy after the EU referendum.”

The chairs of the individual CLPs also report instances of bullying and intimidation are widespread as Momentum supporters attempt to harass MPs and members who do not support Mr Corbyn. 

Despite the public threats to deselect recalcitrant MPs - most notably the Wallasey CLP which threatened a vote of no confidence in its MP, leadership challenger Angela Eagle - there appears to be little appetite to oust them and a deep divide between new and longstanding members. 

Despite despair with Mr Corbyn, party chairs barely mentioned Owen Smith's challenge (Getty Images)

David Sedgewick, the secretary of Denton and Reddish constituency in Greater Manchester, said: “There are members who have been here for 10, 15, 20 years who think he has to go. 

“Those who have joined in the last year think he walks on water. 

“There’s an almost religious-like following and if you criticise him you’re a blasphemer.”

CLP secretaries also complain the new members do not help with the day to day aspects of campaigning, such as turning up to constituency meetings, leafleting and door knocking. 

But despite their distaste for Mr Corbyn's leadership there seems to be little appetite for his challenger, Owen Smith. He and Ms Eagle - who dropped out of the race after the survey was completed - were barely mentioned by CLP chairs when asked about the party's future.

Momentum spokesman, James Schneider, said the survey’s findings were not indicative of the party as a whole, saying there was a “disparity” between CLP secretaries and executive officers and the wider membership.

He cited a YouGov poll which indicated support for Mr Corbyn among the membership was actually growing. 

The survey put Mr Smith 20 points behind Mr Corbyn in the race for the leadership. 

Several CLPs have been suspended from the party after reports of abuse, including the Wallasey CLP following homophobic abuse, violence and death threats directed at Ms Eagle, and all have been banned from holding official meetings until the result of the leadership vote in September.

Angela Eagle has been the MP for Wallasey since 1992 but was threatened with deselection over her leadership challenge (Reuters)

It was revealed this week that Labour has received more than 183,000 applications to vote in the leadership election as a registered supporter in just 48 hours. 

Although the Saving Labour campaign, set up to “save” the party from the hard-left under Mr Corbyn, has urged people to pay the £25 fee to vote against him in the race, the Labour leader’s supporters say the majority of the new recruits back him. 

Labour's ruling National Executive Committee (NEC) voted to allow Mr Corbyn an automatic place on the ballot but said only people who had been members since January could vote in the election, with a loophole for those who register as a supporter.