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Sat, 24 October 2020

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Keir Starmer overtakes Boris Johnson as public’s preferred choice for Prime Minister, new poll shows

Keir Starmer overtakes Boris Johnson as public’s preferred choice for Prime Minister, new poll shows

The poll revealed that the majority of Brits disapprove of the Government’s handling of the Covid-19 crisis (PA)

2 min read

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has overtaken Boris Johnson as the British public’s preferred choice for Prime Minister, according to a new poll.

The survey, conducted by Opinium for The Observer, found that 37% said Sir Keir would be a better choice for the top job compared to 35% who favoured Mr Johnson.

It also revealed the majority of Brits disapprove of the Government’s handling of the Covid-19 crisis for the seventh week in a row.

Three-in-five (59%) claimed they are unhappy with current levels of testing in the UK, while 57% are critical of the Government’s handling of the test and trace system.

The gap between Labour and the Tories is also continuing to close, with Sir Keir’s party currently only four points behind in terms of voting intentions, down from a 20-point lead in February. 

And, following a week of packed beaches and parks, more than half of people (54%) said they felt the UK was coming out of lockdown too fast, up from 46% last week.

Adam Drummond, head of political polling at Opinium, said: “Boris Johnson’s approval rating remains narrowly negative while Keir Starmer’s remains substantially positive (moving from a net +22 last week to +27 this week). 

“Politically, the 'new normal' is that for the first time in over a decade Labour has a leader who outperforms their party while the Conservatives have a leader who underperforms theirs and the crossover in preferred prime minister is a reflection of that.”

It comes after a challenging week for Sir Keir as he sacked one-time leadership contender and Shadow Education Secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey for praising an article in a tweet that contained an anti-semitic conspiracy theory. 

MP for Stretford and Urmston Kate Green has now been picked to replaced Ms Long-Bailey, who was once chief executive of the Child Poverty Action Group.

The decision to remove the Salford MP from the frontbench has become a rallying point for criticism of the party’s new leader, with leftwing Labour MPs including John McDonnell and Jeremy Corbyn meeting with Sir Keir on Friday to express their concerns.

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