Diane Abbott: Labour would be polling in 'single digits' if Jeremy Corbyn was pushed

Posted On: 
13th April 2017

Labour would be "languishing" below 10% in the polls if Jeremy Corbyn was forced out as leader by any of his party critics, Diane Abbott has said.

Ms Abbott said Jeremy Corbyn is worth about 18-20 percentage points to Labour’s vote
PA Images

In a scathing put down towards her party colleagues, the Shadow Home Secretary insisted her long-standing ally “is worth about 18-20 percentage points to Labour’s vote”.

Writing in Labour List, she said: “One of [Mr Corbyn’s opponents'] current arguments is that Labour’s difficulties in the polls are all attributable to him and that if only we had a new leader, almost any leader, then this would resolve our problems.

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“This is completely untrue. We can go further. Compared to all his critics, Jeremy Corbyn is worth about 18-20 percentage points to Labour’s vote.

“Without him, and led by any one of his vocal critics we could easily be languishing in single digits in polls.”

Ms Abbott added that the Labour leader’s stance against the “knee-jerk” bombing of Syria by the US last week proved he was “indispensable to forging a new politics”.

“It is Jeremy’s commitments to peace, to equality and to investment-led growth that set him apart from the well-trodden political failures of the past,” she added.

She added that “Dutch and French versions of Peter Mandelson” had proved “disastrous” for Labour’s sister parties on the continent, suggesting that only a left-wing platform was the best chance of returning Labour to government in the UK.

“In both cases, the Dutch Labour Party and the French Socialist Party had talked about opposing austerity but then implemented it,” she said.

“Trying to shore up their electoral base they turned to anti-immigration and Islamophobic rhetoric and policies. France under Hollande also repeatedly intervened militarily in Africa.

“No doubt there are somewhere Dutch and French versions of Peter Mandelson saying that these policies were necessary, or they were popular or they showed firm leadership.

“They were none of the above. They were indefensible and they proved electorally disastrous."