Sir Keir Starmer was last night mocked as ‘more Lib Dem than Labour’ after a damning new poll on the beleaguered Labour leader.
A survey seen by The Mail on Sunday revealed that Sir Keir is now more popular with rival Liberal Democrat voters than he is with supporters of his own party.
With Lib Dem backers, Sir Keir had a ‘net favourability’ rating of plus 19 compared to just plus 16 for Labour voters.
The YouGov polling, carried out earlier this month, emerged just as a separate survey by the same pollsters showed Labour taking its first lead over the Tories for two years
But it also showed that former barrister Sir Keir had little appeal with the working class, with a popularity rating of minus 27 among manual workers.
And despite being a North London MP, he fared little better with the capital’s voters, with a net rating of zero.
The YouGov polling, carried out earlier this month, emerged just as a separate survey by the same pollsters showed Labour taking its first lead over the Tories for two years.
However, it also comes amid continuing concerns that Sir Keir, 18 months after succeeding Jeremy Corbyn, is still failing to ‘cut through’ with many voters.
This paper can also reveal growing tensions between the Labour leader and the man widely tipped as his likeliest replacement – ex-Cabinet Minister and former MP Andy Burnham.
The Greater Manchester mayor, dubbed ‘King of the North’ after standing up to Boris Johnson over Covid restrictions for his region, has made no secret of his ambitions to be party leader.
But insiders revealed that Sir Keir’s office is angry at some of Mr Burnham’s public interventions, branding them ‘unhelpful’.
Only last week, Mr Burnham heaped pressure on Sir Keir to make clear what was Labour’s alternative to hiking National Insurance to pay for social care, declaring the party could miss its ‘biggest opportunity for some time’ to take on Boris Johnson.
There are also reports that plans at this month’s party conference for a big ‘Labour in Power’ event, featuring elected mayors including Mr Burnham, have been scaled back for fear he would outshine Sir Keir.
Labour insisted last night that the event was going ahead at the Brighton conference as planned but claimed that Sir Keir had never been due to speak at it.
When he was re-elected as mayor last May, Mr Burnham sparked speculation about his future plans by saying he could ‘one day’ stand once again to be Labour leader.
But last night he denied having a secret ‘job swap’ deal to get back into the Commons with Labour MP Lucy Powell, in which he would inherit her Manchester Central seat and she would replace him as mayoral candidate.
Sir Keir’s office declined to comment, saying it did not offer ‘running commentaries’ on opinion polls
Ms Powell, a member of Sir Keir’s Shadow Cabinet, dismissed the suggestion as ‘nonsense’ last night.
Sir Keir’s office declined to comment, saying it did not offer ‘running commentaries’ on opinion polls.
But other Starmer allies dismissed the findings, claiming it was difficult to draw clear conclusions from the survey given some of the small samples.
However, Conservative MP Alexander Stafford said it was ‘no surprise’ Sir Keir had higher ratings with Lib Dem voters than Labour.
The Rother Valley MP said: ‘He is so far away from traditional, working-class Labour voters that he is now basically a Nick Clegg retread.’
Source: Daily Mail UK