Voters ditched Labour over Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership and not Brexit, says poll
Voters were three-times more likely to fail to back Labour because of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership than they were over Brexit, according to a new poll.
The results of the survey challenge claims by some figures in the Shadow Cabinet that the party ended up with its worst result since 1935 due to the fallout from the EU referendum.
Opinium asked voters why they had not backed Labour in their election day poll, with the “leadership” coming out on top at 43%.
Their stance on Brexit only turned off 17% of potential voters, and their economic policies 12%.
And among those who did vote for Labour in 2017 but did not in 2019 it was broadly the same story, with 37% citing Mr Corbyn, while only 21% said it was over their stance on Brexit.
For those who defected to the Conservatives this time around, leaving the EU was a higher factor at 31%. But the issue still trailed well behind the party’s leadership, which polled at 45%.
This is despite Mr Corbyn reacting to a historic defeat by defending his campaign, and instead blaming Brexit.
He told the BBC: “I have pride in our manifesto that we put forward, and all the policies we put forward, which actually had huge public support.
“But this election was taken over ultimately by Brexit and we as a party represent people who voted both Remain and Leave.
“My whole strategy was to reach out beyond the Brexit divide to try and bring people together, because ultimately the country has to come together.”
And his shadow Chancellor John McDonnell told Sky News: "We just couldn't get through the Brexit argument basically."
He added: "I think on the policy issues we won the argument but we literally couldn't break through Brexit.”
In the aftermath of the election and the loss of 59 seats, Mr Corbyn has agreed to step down as Labour leader.
But he has vowed not to quit straight away.
On the timetable for his exit he said: “The National Executive will have to meet, of course, in the very near future and it is up to them.
“It will be in the early part of next year.”