Labour councillors want Smith but expect Corbyn

Councillors believe that members and registered supporters will keep Corbyn

 

Some 60 per cent of Labour councillors in marginal constituencies will vote for Owen Smith in the Labour leadership contest, according to new research from Anglia Ruskin University.

In a poll of 350 councillors across 125 constituencies, Smith’s suppoort outstripped Corbyn’s by more than two to one, with just 28 per cent planning to vote for the incumbent leader.

An even greater proportion — nearly 65 per cent — believe that Labour is more likely to win in their constituency under Smith.

‘Our data suggests that Owen Smith’s appeal reaches beyond the Westminster bubble and into committee rooms and Labour council meetings across Britain,’ said Richard Carr, a lecturer in history and politics at the university.

However, the results also indicate that councillors are pessimistic about Smith’s chances, particularly given strong support among registered supporters.

Asked how they believed members in their local areas would vote, nearly 38 per cent said Corbyn, against 28 per cent for Smith.

And when asked the same question about registered supporters, 53 per cent said Corbyn, against just ten per cent for Smith.

Carr commented:

“If Owen Smith is unable to convince a sizeable chunk of £25 registered supporters that he is the man for them, his campaign looks likely to be sunk.

“He might be seen by Labour Party councillors as best placed to connect with the wider electorate and challenge Theresa May, but he’ll need a strong change in the winds to get past Jeremy Corbyn right now.”

Last week, 183,000 people applied to join Labour as registered supporters.

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