Jeremy Corbyn is on course for a landslide victory in Labour leadership race, according to a new poll showing him leading Owen Smith, his contender, by 24 points.
A YouGov survey for The Times of those entitled to vote in the contest puts the current Labour leader on 62 per cent with Mr Smith trailing on 38 per cent.
The Labour leader, who has remained defiant in the face of a coup from his parliamentary colleagues, has majority support among all three groups that are eligible to vote in the contest - full members, registered supporters and union affiliates.
The results would represent an increase in support from Mr Corbyn compared to the results of the 2015 leadership election – where he won 59.5 per cent of members' vote.
Most of this increase comes from the leader attracting new supporters, however. Labour members who joined before May 2015 – a group Mr Corbyn won last year – backed Owen Smith by 68 per cent to 32 per cent.
In a significant finding, the poll also adds that half of the respondents said they would support the reselection of sitting MPs - a process abolished by the former Labour leader Neil Kinnock. This result represents a marked uptick in support for reselections compared to previous polling on the matter.
The left-wing leader’s lead in the poll comes despite Labour’s ruling body winning a challenge against a High Court decision allowing new party members to vote in the contest. The decision to overturn the High Court judgement was widely expected to have damaged Mr Corbyn’s campaign to retain his position at the helm of the party.
Thousands of Labour members have also been excluded from the party by officials for reasons including having previously expressed approval of other parties on Twitter.
The most ridiculous claims made about Jeremy Corbyn
The most ridiculous claims made about Jeremy Corbyn
1/11 He called Hezbollah and Hamas ‘friends’
True. In a speech made to the Stop the War Coalition in 2009, Mr Corbyn called representatives from both groups “friends” after inviting them to Parliament. He later told Channel 4 he wanted both groups, who have factions designated as international terror organisations, to be “part of the debate” for the Middle East peace process. “I use (the word ‘friends’) in a collective way, saying our friends are prepared to talk,” he added. “Does it mean I agree with Hamas and what it does? No. Does it mean I agree with Hezbollah and what they do? No.”
2/11 ‘Jeremy Corbyn thinks the death of Osama bin Laden was a tragedy’
Partly false. David Cameron used this as a line of attack at the Conservative Party conference but appears to have left out all context from Mr Corbyn’s original remarks. In an 2011 interview on Iranian television, the then-backbencher said the fact the al-Qaeda leader was not put on trial was the tragedy, continuing: “The World Trade Center was a tragedy, the attack on Afghanistan was a tragedy, the war in Iraq was a tragedy.”
3/11 He is ‘haunted’ by the legacy of his ‘evil’ great-great-grandfather
False. A Daily Express exposé revealed that the Labour leader’s ancestor, James Sargent, was the “despotic” master of a Victorian workhouse. Addressing the report at the Labour conference, Mr Corbyn said he had never heard of him before, adding: “I want to take this opportunity to apologise for not doing the decent thing and going back in time and having a chat with him about his appalling behaviour.”
4/11 Jeremy Corbyn raised a motion about ‘pigeon bombs’ in Parliament
This one is true. On 21 May 2004, Mr Corbyn raised an early day motion entitled “pigeon bombs”, proposing that the House register being “appalled but barely surprised” that MI5 reportedly proposed to load pigeons with explosives as a weapon. The motion continued: “The House… believes that humans represent the most obscene, perverted, cruel, uncivilised and lethal species ever to inhabit the planet and looks forward to the day when the inevitable asteroid slams into the earth and wipes them out thus giving nature the opportunity to start again.” It was not carried.
5/11 He rides a Communist bicycle
False. A report in The Times referred to Mr Corbyn, known for his cycling, riding a “Chairman Mao-style bicycle” earlier this year. “Less thorough journalists might have referred to it as just a bicycle, but no, so we have to conclude that whenever we see somebody on a bicycle from now on, there goes another supporter of Chairman Mao,” he later joked.
6/11 'Jeremy Corbyn will appoint a special minister for Jews'
False so far. The Sun report in December was allegedly based on a “rumour” passed to the paper by a Daily Express columnist who has written pieces critical of the Labour leader in the past. The minister did not materialise in his shadow cabinet.
7/11 ‘Jeremy Corbyn wishes Britain would abolish its Army’
False. Another gem from The Sun took comments made at a Hiroshima remembrance parade in August 2012 where Mr Corbyn supported Costa Rica’s move to abolish it armed forces. “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if every politician around the world…abolished the army and took pride in the fact that they don’t have an army,” he added. The caveat that “every politician” must take the step suggests Mr Corbyn does not support UK disarmament just yet.
8/11 Jeremy Corbyn stole sandwiches meant for veterans
False. The Guido Fawkes blog claimed that the Labour leader took sandwiches meant for veterans at at Battle of Britain memorial service in September but a photo later emerged showing him being handed one by Costa volunteers, who later confirmed they were given to all guests.
9/11 He missed the induction into the Queen’s privy council
True. After much speculation about Mr Corbyn’s republican views and willingness to bow to the monarch, his office confirmed that he did not attend the official induction to the privy council because of a prior engagement, but did not rule out joining the body.
10/11 Jeremy Corbyn refuses to sing the national anthem.
Partly true. The Labour leader was filmed standing in silence as God Save the Queen was sung at a Battle of Britain remembrance service but will reportedly sing it in future. Mr Corbyn was elusive on the issue in an interview, saying he would show memorials “respect in the proper way”, but sources said he would sing the anthem at future occasions.
11/11 He is a member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Cheese
True. The group lists its purpose as the following: “To increase awareness of issues surrounding the dairy industry and focus on economic issues affecting the dairy industry and producers.”
But the poll by YouGov, who correctly predicted Labour's last leadership election, shows Mr Corbyn winning regardless of apparent attempts to exclude supporters through both legal and rulebook means.
According to the party, more than 640,000 members and supporters are eligible to vote in the contest between Mr Corbyn and Mr Smith. Voting began last week and the leadership race will come to a conclusion when the result is announced on the eve of Labour’s annual conference.
The poll comes as Mr Smith, who has attempted to position himself in the contest on “radical” platform, told The Independent that Labour must take a strong pro-immigration stance even if it means shedding votes to UK Independence Party (Ukip). He said that his party needs to be positive on immigration regardless of whether it leads to “electoral damage”.
However, in a major blow to Mr Smith's campaign the poll shows he is slightly behind with those who voted to Remain in the European Union referendum despite placing the issue - and the policy to hold a second referendum on the terms of Brexit - at the forefront of his leadership bid.
The poll only shows lukewarm support for the policy among Labour voters, who back it by 46 per cent to 43 per cent. It is unpopular with the wider electorate, who reject a second vote by 54 per cent to 34 per cent.