Theresa May will remain Britain’s Iron Lady Mark II – for as long as Jeremy Corbyn leads Labour

Corbyn should reflect on his current situation

Half of voters believe Theresa May makes a better prime minister than Jeremy Corbyn, while just 14 per cent favour the Labour leader. In YouGov’s most recent voter intention poll, Labour’s support has fallen to 23 per cent, while the Conservatives are at 44 per cent.

Yet, according to another poll, May’s Iron Lady mark II persona could be dealt a significant blow if Labour changed its leader.

According to the findings, voters believe Margaret Thatcher is the ex-prime minister that Theresa May is most similar to, with 47 per cent saying that the two were similar, compared to 31 per cent who said they were different. 43 per cent of respondents have previously described Thatcher as either a good or great prime minister.

Starkly for the Labour Party, just 15 per cent of respondent felt Jeremy Corbyn would make the best prime minister, trailing the 36 per cent who did not know who would make the best PM. Just under half, 49 per cent, said that May would make the best prime minister.

All hope however should not be lost. Of those who said May would make the best PM, opinion as to why was evenly split, with 47 per cent saying it was because of her strengths, but 46 per cent putting it down to Corbyn’s weaknesses.

While unlikely to turn everything around in one go, it makes clear that a new Labour leader that is seen as a more viable alternative to the current incumbent of Number 10 would provide the boost that Labour and indeed the country so desperately needs and deserves.

Corbyn would do well to reflect on the situation he now finds himself in.

He rightly raises concerns about the prospect of the Tories dismantling various workers’ rights as a result of Brexit, yet he cannot do anything about it because he and the party are so far away from power.

He calls for Brexit to be used as an opportunity to favour British firms, yet this is a policy which is unlikely to see the light of day because the party under his leadership is so far off winning the keys to Downing Street.

He wants to introduce a popular policy of free school meals for all but how can this happen unless Labour looks, sounds and finally becomes a party of government again?

The fact remains that the party that gave birth to the NHS, that introduced the Open University, created Sure Start, introduced the Human Rights Act and saved the NHS from the hands of the Tories in 1997 has fast become a ranting and raving rabble that has no prospect, under the current leader, of becoming a party of government. I say that with genuine regret.

The reality is that very few people expect him to continue as leader until the general election, with expectations that he will go sometime next year. Given this, why wait?

If Corbyn, in his heart of hearts does not feel he can take the party into an election he should have the integrity to say so. To not do so would be a betrayal of all those he claims to want to protect, those who need a strong Labour party to hold the Tories’ feet to the fire and ultimately have a fighting chance of making it into government itself.

Ed Jacobs is a contributing editor at Left Foot Forward

See: In Scotland, how long is a generation?

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