Labour in crisis as Keir Starmer accused of inciting civil war days before conference

PMQs: Johnson and Starmer butt heads over tax increases

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The Labour Party conference, scheduled to take place this weekend, marks an important milestone for the party and its leader Sir Keir Starmer. Following a humiliating defeat in the 2019 general election and criticism from MPs, members and the public about Labour’s role during the Covid pandemic – the party has a long way to go to regain the support it has lost. Recent polls showed the party surpassed the Conservatives for the first time since January earlier this month – but where does support stand now?

Labour’s former shadow chancellor John McDonnell has been warned his plans to reform how the party elects its leader could “rip our party apart”.

Mr McDonnell said the reform was a “complete distraction” and a bad idea.

Sir Keir wants to scrap the Labour’s one member, one vote system which was introduced in 2014.

The plan has sparked controversy within the Labour Party with former leader Mr Corbyn calling the move “deeply undemocratic”.

The recent backlash will likely cause Labour to drop in the polls which will be a crushing blow to Sir Keir after he managed to surpass his rival Conservatives for the first time since January.

After 149 consecutive poll leads, the Tories fell five points and behind Labour for the first time earlier this month, after a week of manifesto-busting pledges on taxes and pensions.

The YouGov polling at that time pitched Labour at 35 percent, two percentage points higher than the Conservative Party.

YouGov’s Anthony Wells said: “We should be cautious of leaping to too many conclusions from a single poll, but it looks as if the government may have sacrificed their reputation for low taxes amongst Tory voters without actually getting much credit for helping the NHS.”

However, the Tories have regained lost ground in the subsequent weeks

According to a YouGov poll, during which respondents were asked about who they expected to win the next election, just two percent said they thought there would a large Labour majority.

Only four percent of respondents said they thought there would be a small Labour Party majority.

Six percent of the 1,627 to 1,808 adults polled said they thought there would be a hung parliament which resulted in a Labour-led Government, compared to 14 percent who said a hung parliament would lead to a Conservative-led Government.

Of those polled, 31 percent said they did not know who would win the next election.

Overall, of those polled, 10 percent said they believe the next election would see a large Conservative Party majority.

A small Conservative majority was the most popular answer with 33 percent backing this option.

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The latest Westminster voting intention poll published on September 17 found 39 percent of respondents would support the Conservative Party – an increase of six percentage points on the previous weeks poll.

Labour won 35 percent support which was no change from the previous poll.

Elsewhere, the Lib Dems were on seven percent which was a three-point drop, the Greens on seven percent which was a two percentage point fall and Reform UK on three percent which was a decrease of two points.

When asked about the best PM candidate, three in 10 people said Mr Johnson was the best candidate, compared to 26 percent support for the Labour leader.

Overall, however, the undecided category had the most support with 39 percent of people backing this option.

The Labour Party is polling at 36 percent according to Politico’s national parliament voting intention poll.

This is four percentage points behind the Conservative Party which currently stands at 40 percent.

The Liberal Democrats are next at eight percent, followed by the Greens at six percent.

The SNP is currently polling at four percent with the Reform Party at three percent.

The poll, valid as of September 20, also reveals respondents back UKIP at three percent and Plaid Cymru at one percent.

The Labour Party conference will be held this weekend but Sir Keir is likely to face animosity from some candidates.

In Labour’s current position, behind the Tories, the party needs to make historic gains to overturn its worst defeat in eight decades in just one leap.

Many of the seats it lost in 2019 had been sliding away for years and unless something changes more may follow suit in the future.

The Labour leader has been criticised for remaining a relative unknown – especially compared to the charismatic appeal Boris Johnson holds with voters.

Many Labour MPs and supporters will be approaching the party conference with the hope change is on the horizon – but Labour has a lot of ground to cover if it wants to make up all it has lost in recent years.

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