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Keir Starmer is front runner to succeed Jeremy Corbyn, according to new poll

Starmer would beat Rebecca Long-Bailey, who has been seen as the Corbyn camp’s favoured successor.

Keir Starmer has not yet declared as a candidate to succeed Jeremy Corbyn.
Keir Starmer has not yet declared as a candidate to succeed Jeremy Corbyn.
Image: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire/PA Images

SIR KEIR STARMER is the clear front-runner for the Labour leadership contest, according to a new poll.

The centrist shadow Brexit secretary, who has not declared whether he is standing or not, would win the contest, a YouGov survey reported in The Guardian states.

Starmer would beat left winger Rebecca Long-Bailey, who has said she is considering a leadership bid, 61% to 39% in a run off, according to the survey of Labour members. 

The election process will be launched next week, with the new leader taking over in March following Labour’s worst election performance since 1935, under Jeremy Corbyn.

The third most popular choice among those surveyed was Birmingham Yardley MP Jess Phillips, who has also not said whether she will stand.

Prof Tim Bale of Queen Mary University of London, who jointly ran the poll with the University of Sussex, told The Guardian: “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.”

labour-party-conference Rebecca Long Bailey would not win the race to replace Jeremy Corbyn, according to the poll. Source: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire/PA Images

At present only the shadow foreign secretary, Emily Thornberry, and the shadow treasury minister, Clive Lewis, have formally announced they will stand for the party leadership.

Wigan MP Lisa Nandy, party chairman Ian Lavery, and Commons Home Affairs Committee chairwoman Yvette Cooper, are also believed to be considering entering the contest.

The poll of 1,059 Labour party members put Starmer on 31% for first choice votes, 20% backed Long-Bailey, Phillips received 11%, and Lewis and Cooper were the first choice for 7%, according to the poll.

Thornberry was on 6% and Nandy was backed by 5% as first choice.

With less popular candidates eliminated, a final run-off would see Starmer beat Long-Bailey in the last round, according to the survey.

Brexit could have an impact on the result as Long-Bailey is rated first choice by 19% of Labour members who voted Remain, but scores 31% of those who voted Leave.

Starmer is backed as first choice by 34% of Remainers in the survey, but only supported by 17% of Leavers.

The survey was commissioned from YouGov by the Party Members Project, which is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.

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