Five days left to save the Labour Party, says Owen Smith

The challenger to Jeremy Corbyn claims he can unite the party – but members appear far from convinced 

Jon Stone
Friday 16 September 2016 00:02

There are five days left to “save the Labour Party” from Jeremy Corbyn, the MP challenging him for the Labour leadership has said.

In his last set-piece speech before polls in the contest close, Owen Smith will tell a rally in London that left-wing group Momentum is a “party within a party” – a claim it strenuously denies.

Polls conducted by YouGov mid-way through the campaign suggest Mr Corbyn is set to be returned as leader by and landslide – though the race may have changed since they were conducted.

“With five days left in this race, there are five days left to save the Labour Party. Five days to save it from a leadership that’s taking the party away from the concerns of the British people, away from credibility, away from unity,” Mr Smith is expected to say.

“Five days to get the Labour Party into a position where it can face outwards and talk about the problems the country faces and the solutions we offer - not face inwards with talk about deselections and Red Tories and splits.”

Mr Smith served in Mr Corbyn’s shadow cabinet but later resigned from the post of shadow work and pensions secretary.

But his campaign has apparently struggled to find traction – drawing rallies only a fraction of the size of Mr Corbyn’s and with a number of unforced gaffes in the media.

Mr Smith’s claim that he would unite the party has apparently failed to convince some of the Labour selectorate, according to the most recent polling on the matter.

Elsewhere, an Ipsos MORI poll shows the Conservatives falling in the polls by five points. The Tories now have a six point lead over labour, on 40 per cent, with Labour on 34 per cent. Ukip were on nine per cent, and the Liberal Democrats on six per cent.

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