Labour members don’t think Jeremy Corbyn can win. But they still want him anyway
Fewer than half of Labour party members believe Jeremy Corbyn can win the next general election, but most still want him to remain their leader, a new poll has found.
Just 47% of party members believe the Labour leader will win the general election and become prime minister, according to the YouGov poll for the Election Data website. However, 63% say he should lead the party into the next general election anyway. Only 15% say he should stand down now.
The poll found that a poor performance in the upcoming elections in Scotland, London and local authorities may be a turning point for the Labour leader, but it would not be fatal. When asked whether Corbyn should still lead the party into the general election if Labour do badly in May, support for Corbyn's long-term leadership drops to just 53%.
However, those Labour members hoping for a leadership challenge look set to be disappointed. The poll found that Corbyn is still the overwhelming favourite choice for leader among members. Of candidates in a possible new leadership election, Corbyn was backed by 62% of members. His closest rival, Hilary Benn, received just 15%. The current deputy Tom Watson received just three per cent.
The race would be much more open if Corbyn chose to stand down, however. When Corbyn's name was replaced on the ballot with John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor received the support of just 29% of members to Tom Watson's 20%, meaning that McDonnell could lose on second preferences.
Despite retaining the support of most members, Labour MPs remain deeply unhappy with Corbyn. Last night the Labour leader missed yet another scheduled meeting with the parliamentary Labour party (PLP), opting to sit through the EU referendum debate instead. Corbyn has failed to attend any PLP meetings so far this year.