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Majority of 2017 Labour voters think Jeremy Corbyn should step down as leader, poll finds

Confusion over party’s Brexit policy prompts fresh anger at Labour leader, survey suggests

Benjamin Kentish
Political Correspondent
Monday 23 September 2019 06:49 BST
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Corbyn denies resignation rumours and insists he would serve full term as prime minister

A majority of people who voted Labour at the last general election want Jeremy Corbyn to stand down as party leader, a new poll has found.

Fifty-four per cent of people who backed the party in 2017 want him to resign, according to a YouGov survey, while only 29 per cent want him to stay in the post.

Mr Corbyn is even less popular among all voters, with 58 per cent saying he should resign and only 20 per cent disagreeing.

The finding will come as a blow to the Labour leader as he attempts to defuse an escalating row over Brexit at his party’s annual conference in Brighton.

However, he is likely to take comfort from the fact that he remains popular among people who plan to vote Labour at the next election. Fifty-four per cent of this group want him to stay in post, while 34 per cent think he should quit.

Mr Corbyn is facing fresh anger over his latest Brexit position after the Labour leadership proposed that the party should not decide what position it would take in a future Brexit referendum until after the next general election.

That drew fire from MPs, including senior shadow cabinet ministers, and is the subject of a wrecking plan by grassroots activists, who want the party to adopt a firmly pro-Remain stance.

Amid warnings from senior Labour figures about a further “fudge”, the YouGov poll found that voters are confused about the party’s current Brexit policy. Sixty-nine per cent said it was either “completely unclear” or “fairly unclear”, while just 15 per cent thought it was clear.

In a sign that 2017 Labour voters risk abandoning the party over Brexit, 58 per cent of this group said the party’s policy was not clear, compared to 30 per cent who thought it was.

Those who want Mr Corbyn to pledge that a Labour government would keep Britain in the EU have warned that the party risks losing significant support to the Liberal Democrats and SNP unless it takes a firmer stance against Brexit.

In a finding that will worry Labour strategists, the YouGov poll confirmed that Mr Corbyn’s position appears to be alienating Remain voters. It found that only 27 per cent of Remain backers support the position he has taken, while 46 per cent say they disagree with it.

The figures among all voters are even worse for the Labour leader, with 55 per cent saying they disagreed with his position compared to just 16 per cent who support it.

People who voted Labour in 2017 are also more likely to be unhappy with Mr Corbyn’s strategy, with 39 per cent against and 32 per cent in favour.

However, Mr Corbyn is likely to be buoyed by support from people who say they plan to vote Labour at the next election. Six out of every 10 current Labour supporters back his position, while only 18 per cent disagree.

Chris Curtis, YouGov’s political research manager, said: “New YouGov polling demonstrates how Corbyn has fallen out of favour with not just the wider public at large but his own voters too, as a majority of 2017 Labour backers now think it’s time for him to stand down.

“The task now for the Labour leader, with an election seemingly imminent, is to win back these voters if he is to stand any chance of emulating his 2017 success.”

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