After a year of Corbyn, Labour more unpopular than ever

UK opposition party trailing ruling Conservatives by 11 points, largest gap for party with fresh leadership since 1950s

Britain's opposition Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn (C) leaves after delivering a speech at a Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) rally in north London on August 15, 2016. (AFP PHOTO / DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS)
Britain's opposition Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn (C) leaves after delivering a speech at a Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) rally in north London on August 15, 2016. (AFP PHOTO / DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS)

LONDON — One year after his election, Jeremy Corbyn is leading the most unpopular opposition Labour Party in British history, according to an analysis of polls published Monday.

Labour is currently trailing the ruling Conservatives by an average of 11 points, according to the Nuffield series of British General Election studies.

No Labour party has faced such a deficit 12 months after electing a new leader since modern polling began in the 1950s, according to a Press Association analysis of historic polls to mark the anniversary.

It is also the second-worst polling level for any major British opposition party since World War II, behind the 25-point deficit suffered by William Hague’s Conservatives in 1998, when Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair was riding high.

Former British prime minister Tony Blair (AP/Matt Rourke)
Former British prime minister Tony Blair (AP/Matt Rourke)

Veteran leftist Corbyn, 67, is currently embroiled in another leadership campaign after being challenged by MP Owen Smith, but looks set to keep his job thanks to the consistent support he enjoys among grassroots members and trade unions.

However, he is unpopular with his own MPs, around 80 percent of whom went against him in a recent vote of no confidence.

Corbyn loyalist and shadow chancellor John McDonnell admitted Monday that the current leadership team needed to improve its performance.

In an interview with the BBC, McDonnell blamed the bad figures on discord within the party caused by rebel MPs.

Michael Foster speaks on BBC Daily Politics on Oct 2, 2015. (screen capture: YouTube)
Michael Foster speaks on BBC Daily Politics on Oct 2, 2015. (screen capture: YouTube)

Labour had a turbulent weekend, with prominent Jewish donor Michael Foster being suspended after comparing Corbyn’s allies to Nazi stormtroopers in a newspaper article.

Shadow foreign minister Emily Thornberry also sparked an argument after accusing a television presenter of sexism when he asked her the name of the French foreign minister, which she did not know.

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