Jeremy Corbyn has received £46,000 in small donations for his Labour leadership campaign, illustrating the extent of the left-wing standard bearer’s grassroots support.
The average donation is £22.62, meaning he has received more than 2,000 contributions from supporters. Any donations over £500 have to be declared, but the Islington North MP has received no sums of this amount.
By contrast, Andy Burnham, the Shadow Health Secretary, has been given more than £130,000 in large donations, the Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper nearly £82,000, and the Blairite Liz Kendall £36,500.
The Jeremy Corbyn for Leader Facebook page had 43,000 “likes” on Saturday, after adding 5,500 last week, while the JeremyCorbyn4Leader Twitter profile had nearly 26,000 followers.
Mr Burnham, who is still the bookies’ favourite, had barely 8,000 Twitter followers on his campaign page, @LizforLeader 12,500, and @YvetteforLabour fewer than 6,000.
Mr Corbyn’s popularity among socialist activists has sparked a backlash from several leading party figures who fear he is unelectable.
In an article today for The Independent on Sunday, the shadow health minister Jamie Reed blames Ed Miliband for Mr Corbyn’s rise, in by far the most strongly worded attack by a front-bencher on the former Labour leader.
Mr Reed said the “scale and scope” of May’s defeat had been “inflicted upon the Labour Party” by Mr Miliband because he had gone too far to the left.
“In truth, not all of the blame for Labour’s defeat can be attributed to Ed, but post-defeat, the unfolding carnage in the Labour movement can and should be. Ed’s legacy is one of avoidable self-immolation,” he said.
He added that Labour needed to understand that the electorate broadly backs Conservative welfare reforms that left-wing MPs recently voted against. Mr Corbyn was one of the 48 Labour MPs who voted against benefit cuts, although one key supporter, Jon Trickett, who is a member of the shadow cabinet, abstained.
Mr Reed said: “Ed’s fabulists can no longer be indulged. This magical thinking has already had its three strikes: its rejection by the British people at the general election, its embodiment in Jeremy Corbyn as a clearly unelectable potential Labour leader (a candidacy facilitated by Ed’s legacy) and the point-blank refusal of some sections of the party to listen to what the public and Labour voters are telling us about ‘welfare’ spending.”
Even though the political momentum is with Mr Corbyn, he faces a potential blow by missing out on the backing of the GMB trade union. Both Mr Corbyn and Mr Burnham have been hoping for its support, but three senior union figures said that it was increasingly likely that it would support no one.
Unite shocked Mr Burnham earlier this month when the country’s biggest union decided to back Mr Corbyn. There were reports that the GMB might do the same, but it has since started consulting members to see if they have a clear favourite.
One union source said: “It’s Corbyn or no one – and it’s considered most likely to be no one.”Reuse content