More voters think Tony Blair makes Labour more electable than Jeremy Corbyn, poll finds

Exclusive: Jeremy Corbyn is still more popular with the party faithful but the public at large prefer Tony Blair

Click to follow
Indy Politics

More voters believe Labour would be more electable if Tony Blair returned as leader to replace Jeremy Corbyn, a poll has found.

The exclsuive poll for The Independent by Comres finds that 36 per cent said “Labour has more chance of winning a general election if Tony Blair is leader”,  but only 35 per cent said the same of Jeremy Corbyn. A further 30 per cent said they don’t know. 

The former Labour Prime Minister prompted speculation about his future when he was asked if he could “see himself returning to politics in some way” in an interview in Esquire magazine this month and replied: “That’s an open question.” 

Alastair Campbell, who was Mr Blair’s spokesman as Prime Minister, told the BBC on Saturday that his former boss would not try to come back as an MP, but that he “does want to be more active in policy debate”. 

The difference between Mr Blair and Mr Corbyn in this survey is not statistically significant, and most Labour voters – 56 per cent – say that Labour has a better chance with Mr Corbyn as leader.

Most of those who think Labour would do better with Mr Blair are currently intending to vote Conservative (49 per cent say Mr Blair), Ukip (38 per cent) or Liberal Democrat (40 per cent).

When asked whether there was still room in UK politics for a centre-left party, Mr Blair told Esquire: “There’s been a huge reaction against the politics I represent. But I think it’s too soon to say the centre has been defeated."

Mr Blair announced in September that he was winding down his controversial business consultancy firm and would spend 80 per cent of his time on charity work. 

The move prompted speculation that he was planning a possible return to politics. 

 

Mr Blair remains a highly controversial figure within the party while Mr Corbyn, despite considerable opposition among Labour MPs, won his second leadership election earlier this year with a larger percentage of the vote than 2015. 

After beating challenger Owen Smith with 62 per cent of the vote, Mr Corbyn called for unity but appeared to suggest "some" rebellious MPs may face deselection by their constituency parties.

He said his subsequent reshuffle had made the party "stronger, more diverse and more coherent" but Parliamentary Labour Party chairman John Cryer accused him of sabotaging negotiations to allow MPs to elect the shadow Cabinet.

ComRes interviewed 2,037 adults in Great Britain online on 12 and 13 October 2016. Data were weighted to be demographically representative of all GB adults. Full tables on the ComRes website.

Comments