Keir Starmer favourite to replace Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader
2 January 2020, 08:45
Sir Keir Starmer is the clear favourite to replace Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader, according to a new poll.
The Shadow Brexit Secretary is yet to announce whether he is standing in the leadership contest but would enjoy a "fairly emphatic victory," according to the YouGov poll.
Sir Keir, who is "seriously considering" a leadership bid, would beat his nearest rival Rebecca Long Bailey by 61 per cent to 39 per cent.
Ms Long Bailey, who is considered more left-wing than the centrist former lawyer, has said she is considering the top position.
Next week, the process for electing a new Labour chief will be launched and will culminate in March, following the party's worst election performance since 1935.
YouGov's data shows Birmingham Yardley MP Jess Phillips in third place, however she too has not formally declared whether or not she will stand.
Professor Tim Bale of Queen Mary University of London, who jointly conducted the poll with the University of Sussex, said: "This is not shaping up to be a 2015-style Labour leadership contest.
"Unless potential candidates drop out before the start of voting, it may take a few rounds to decide the winner this time around.
"But it doesn't look at the moment as if the winner will come from the left of the party. Right now anyway, Keir Starmer looks to be heading for a fairly emphatic victory."
The only two candidates to formally declare their leadership bids are Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry and Shadow Treasury Minister Clive Lewis.
Others believed to be interested are Wigan MP Lisa Nandy, party chairman Ian Lavery, and Commons Home Affairs Committee chairwoman Yvette Cooper.
The poll of 1,059 Labour party members put Sir Keir on 31 per cent for first-choice votes, Ms Long Bailey on 20 percent, Ms Phillips received 11 per cent, and Mr Lewis and Ms Cooper on seven per cent each.
Ms Thornberry accrued six per cent of the votes and Ms Nandy amassed just five per cent.
With less popular candidates eliminated, a final run-off would see Sir Keir beat Ms Long Bailey in the last round.
Brexit could have an impact on the result, with Ms Long Bailey rated the favourite by 19 per cent of Labour members who voted Remain, whereas 31 per cent of those who voted Leave backed the Salford and Eccles MP.
Sir Keir is backed as first choice by 34 per cent of Remainers in the survey, but only supported by 17 per cent of Leavers.
The survey was commissioned from YouGov by the Party Members Project, which is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.