Brexit: Labour crashes to fourth in poll for first time as frontbencher admits voters fleeing party

Just 18 per cent of public backs Jeremy Corbyn’s party and only 25 per cent of Remain voters  – down from 48 per cent at start of year

Jeremy Corbyn responds to claims he's too unfit to be prime minister

Labour has crashed to fourth place in a poll for the first time, as a shadow cabinet member admitted supporters are deserting the party because of its fence-sitting on Brexit.

Just 18 per cent of voters said that they would back Jeremy Corbyn’s party if a general election was held today – its joint lowest level, matched only by Gordon Brown in the depths of the 2009 financial crisis.

Only 25 per cent of Remain voters back Labour – down from 48 per cent at the start of the year – amid rising criticism of its leader for failing to set out a clear strategy on a fresh Brexit referendum.

However, Mr Corbyn is also being abandoned by Leavers, with just 8 per cent now giving Labour their support, down from 21 per cent in January, the Times/YouGov poll found.

Remarkably, the Conservatives top the poll, six points ahead of Labour on 24 per cent, despite the turmoil of Theresa May’s resignation and the leadership race.

It came as Jon Ashworth, Labour’s shadow health secretary, urged Mr Corbyn to end the uncertainty by making clear that Labour “would campaign for Remain if there was a public vote,” he said.

“I suspect a lot of the people who voted for us in 2017 – young people, renters, and so on – I think a lot of the people who voted for us in 2017 and gave us that tremendous result are probably showing up in that opinion poll as supporting the Liberal Democrats.”

(Statista )

Labour is also likely to have been damaged by the ongoing controversy about antisemitism in the party’s ranks, which reared its head again with the row over the readmission of the left-wing MP Chris Williamson.

The Brexit Party is second in the poll on 23 per cent, while the Liberal Democrats have overtaken Labour and are on 20 per cent in third place.

The results underline that British politics is in a period of four-parties competing for power, making the results at a general election very difficult to predict.

Labour MPs demanding a Final Say referendum on Brexit are desperate for Mr Corbyn to start campaigning for it – and to guarantee the party would back Remain if it took place.

They were alarmed when the leader said any referendum ballot paper should contain “real choices for both Leave and Remain voters”, leaving open the question of which he would back.

His spokesman owned up to shadow cabinet splits, but promised a clearer policy later this month after further consultation with trade union leaders.

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Labour is braced for more criticism over antisemitism next week, with the broadcast of a BBC Panorama episode entitled ‘Is Labour antisemitic?’.

The BBC has said the documentary has secured “access to confidential communications and documents" which "reveal evasions and contradictions”.

In May, the party was placed under formal investigation by the Equality and Human Rights Commission to examine whether it has unlawfully discriminated against Jews.

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