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Most People Think Keir Starmer Is Right To Ban Jeremy Corbyn Standing As A Labour MP, Poll Shows

While the majority of people think Keir Starmer is right to block Jeremy Corbyn standing as an MP they say it will not change how they vote. (Alamy)

3 min read

Exclusive: Polling by Savanta for PoliticsHome has shown that the public supports Keir Starmer’s decision to block Jeremy Corbyn standing as a Labour MP at the next election – but it does not appear to have caused a major shift in voting intentions.

In a survey of 2,144 people, 55 per cent said they believed Starmer was right to block the former Labour leader from running as a Labour MP – with 23 per cent believing it was wrong, and 22 per cent saying they didn't know.

However, despite more than half supporting the decision, 64 per cent of people said the Labour leader blocking Corbyn’s Labour candidacy would not affect how they vote at the next election.

28 per cent of people said Starmer’s decision would affect how they vote – with 12 per cent saying it would make them less likely to vote for Labour, and 16 per cent of people saying it would make them more likely.

Corbyn, now an independent MP, served as the Labour MP for Islington North for 37 years and as Labour leader from 2015 to 2020 before having the whip removed by Starmer in 2020 for claiming antisemitism in the Labour party had been “dramatically overstated for political reasons”.

He made the remarks after the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) found the party guilty of “unlawful acts” against Jewish members under his leadership and placed it under special measures.

At a press conference last week, in response to the EHRC saying it is now satisfied with the action the party had taken on the issue and had decided to end its special measures, Starmer ruled out Corbyn’s return to the parliamentary Labour party.  

However, Corbyn –  who remains extremely popular in his local Labour party and is still a Labour member – said the move was a “flagrant attack on the democratic rights of Islington North Labour party members”.

“Any attempt to block my candidacy is a denial of due process, and should be opposed by anybody who believes in the value of democracy,” he said.

The new polling comes the day before Labour prepares to announce its “big five pledges” as it sets its groundwork for the next general election and attempts to move the party towards the centre ground after it moved to the left under Corbyn.  

Critics of Corbyn, who led the party to the fewest number of seats since 1935 at the 2019 election, have said part of his unpopularity with the public was due to more left-wing policies like nationalising public services.

However, other polling for PoliticsHome by Savanta found that policies such as the renationalisation of energy were not unpopular with the public. 

When asked if they supported nationalising energy companies following record profits of oil giants and soaring energy bills, the public said energy should be brought back into state ownership.

56 per cent of people said they supported the renationalisation of energy, with 27 per cent saying they strongly support the move and 29 per cent people saying they some what supported it.

21 per cent said they neither supported or opposed state ownership of energy, with just 12 per cent said they opposed the move; 11 per cent said they didn’t know.

It comes after criticism of Starmer for backtracking on his manifesto pledges during the Labour leadership contest where he claimed “public services should be in public hands”, and that he would “support common ownership of rail, mail, energy and water”. 

Labour have now instead pledged to launch a “Great British Energy” within their first year in government - claiming it would "provide additional capacity alongside the rapidly expanding private sector"  and make the UK a "clean energy superpower" while providing "long term energy security".

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