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Thu, 22 October 2020

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Just one in six Labour voters think Keir Starmer wrong to sack Rebecca Long-Bailey, snap poll shows

Just one in six Labour voters think Keir Starmer wrong to sack Rebecca Long-Bailey, snap poll shows

The Labour leader has faced a backlash from some of his MPs over the decision to oust Ms Long-Bailey (PA).

2 min read

Just 16% of Labour voters think Keir Starmer was wrong to sack Rebecca Long-Bailey amid a row over anti-semitism, according to a new poll.

The fresh YouGov study finds that just over one in six people who back the party think the Labour leader made the wrong call in ousting the shadow education secretary.

Ms Long-Bailey was removed as shadow education secretary on Thursday for approvingly retweeting an interview with the actress Maxine Peake which included the discredited claim that US police had been taught to kneel on the neck of suspects by "Israel's secret service".

The Labour leader has faced pressure from MPs and campaigners on the left of the party over the move, with the Socialist Campaign Group meeting saying there remained "significant disagreement" with Sir Keir over the issue.

But the YouGov poll shows that almost half (47%) of the general public believe the party boss was right to fire the frontbencher, with just 12% saying he was wrong.

Forty-one percent of overall voters told the pollster they did not know.

And those figures were broadly reflected among Labour voters — with 44% saying Sir Keir made the right move, versus 16% who believe it was the wrong call. 

Among Tory voters, 61% think it was right for Sir Keir to dismiss Ms Long-Bailey, while nine percent believe he should not have done so.

Responding to the findings, Mike Katz of the Jewish Labour Movement, the party’s Jewish affiliate, told PoliticsHome: "It’s no surprise that voters approve when our party leader actually shows leadership - especially when it comes to tackling antisemitism in the Labour Party. 

"When leaders actually lead, the party - and the public - will follow. Keir understands this and his swift, decisive action is welcomed.  It’s all we’ve ever asked for - action, not just words."

JENRICK ROW

Separate YouGov findings will also make for grim reading in Number 10, with 39% of voters thinking embattled Cabinet minister Robert Jenrick should resign over the Westferry planning row.

Boris Johnson has stood by the Communities Secretary despite anger from Labour over his contact with Conservative donor Richard Desmond in the run-up to a controversial decision on the east London printworks site.

Just 11% of those polled said Mr Jenrick should not resign, although half of those asked (50%) said they did not know whether or not he should stay in his job.

Among Conservative voters, a third (33%) think Mr Jenrick should go — with only 22% of Tory backers saying he should keep his seat at the Cabinet table.

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