Theresa May has opened up a 37 point gap over Jeremy Corbyn as more than half of British voters think she would make a better Prime Minister than her Labour rival, according to a new poll.
Analysis of the impact of Brexit by former Tory donor Lord Ashcroft found that 55 per cent of the poll of more than 10,000 UK adult respondents believe the current Prime Minister is the best choice for the role compared to 18 per cent who favour Mr Corbyn;,
In a further blow to the Labour leader, only 38 per cent of his party’s supporters would prefer him in Downing St, compared to 29 per cent who believe Ms May is more suited to the job. 33 per cent said they do not know.
In contrast, 89 per cent of Conservative voters backed their party leader.
Ms May’s popularity is highlighted by her topping a survey of which politicians the British public thinks are performing well. The Prime Minister is the only leader seen to be performing above average – beating the likes of Angela Merkel, David Davis and Phillip Hammond.
Mr Corbyn’s performance is rated worse than that of several members of the Conservative Cabinet and SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon, but better than that of Donald Trump and Tim Farron, the leader of the Liberal Democrats.
As the Government prepares to begin lengthy negotiations with the EU, the poll found that both Leave and Remain voters said Brexit is the most important issue facing the country.
Forty two per cent of people thought the UK being able to control immigration was more important than the country retaining access to the EU single market (34 per cent).
Forty five per cent of voters say the Tories most closely represent their view of how the UK should handle Brexit, compared with 27 per cent who say Labour and 14 per cent the Lib Dems.
Overall, when people are asked how they will vote at the next election, the Conservatives are on 41 per cent compared to Labour’s 28 per cent – a 13 point lead.
Labour is seen as having the best approach to improving the NHS and social care, and the party is level with the Tories on the subject of improving schools.
The Conservatives are ahead on every other policy issue, including negotiating Brexit on the right terms, protecting the environment, cutting the deficit and tackling the cost of living.
Mr Corbyn’s allies have said he should be given more time to turn his party’s poll ratings around.
Diane Abbott, the Shadow Home Secretary, recently said: “The way the media treated Jeremy was just quite extraordinary. Add insult to injury of at least a year when Labour MPs were in the media, day after day, saying he was completely unelectable.”
She added: “It is now the case Labour MPs have calmed down a bit - so we will see where the polls are in six months time.”
Len McCluskey, the Corbyn ally and leader of the Unite union, said the Labour leader should be given “the next 15 months” to prove himself."
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