Theresa May preferred to Jeremy Corbyn as Prime Minister by almost a third of Labour voters, poll says

When Labour voters were asked to choose between May and Corbyn as Prime Minister a large proportion – 29 per cent – opted for the Tory leader

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A second poll in the space of 24 hours has provided Theresa May’s Conservatives in a commanding position with a 12-point lead over the Labour party.

The YouGov poll for the Times suggests Labour has 28 per cent of the vote share while the Conservatives are on 40 per cent – providing them with a 12-point lead. It appears to be the biggest gap between the two parties since the end of Gordon Brown’s premiership in 2010 following the financial crash.

Interestingly, when Labour voters were asked by YouGov to choose between Ms May and Jeremy Corbyn as Prime Minister a large proportion – 29 per cent – opted for the Tory leader. If compared with the 9.3 million who voted Labour at the general election in 2015 it would be equivalent to 2.7 million voters.

The poll added that among voters generally around 19 per cent thought Mr Corbyn would make a better Prime Minister than Ms May.

A second poll on Tuesday appeared to show the Tories with a 16-point lead. On current parliamentary boundaries, the latest four opinion polls would increase Theresa May’s wafer-thin majority of 12 to 102. Around 44 Labour MPs would lose their seats if the ICM poll were borne out, leaving the party with 188 MPs.

Martin Boon, ICM’s director, said: “Clearly, the relative calm associated with the handover of power from David Cameron to Theresa May, allied to the current Labour leadership challenge, weighs heavily on electors’ minds.”

John McDonnell pleas for Labour unity

It comes after weeks of bitter recrimination in the Labour party, dozens of resignations from the shadow Cabinet, an overwhelming vote of no confidence in Mr Corbyn and the beginning of a two month leadership battle.

Launching his campaign on Saturday the Labour leader's rival, Owen Smith, said he was  “genuinely afraid” of a split in the party. “We are in my view the greatest institution for social justice, for economic fairness…that our country has ever seen. So for us to be in such a low place, for us to be teetering on the brink of what I fear could be a split in our party, the destruction of our party and the parting of waters that would allow radical right wing parties… to sweep into the gap that we would leave – that is something that should leave all of us genuinely afraid,” he added.

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