EXCLUSIVE: Voters think Starmer should go if Labour loses Batley and Spen by-election, poll finds

'Of those surveyed, 35% of voters think Keir Starmer should quit as Labour leader, compared to 28% who think he should stay on.'

Labour Party leader Keir Starmer speaking at the dispatch box in the House of Commons

A plurality of voters believe Keir Starmer should resign as Labour Party leader if he loses the Batley and Spen by-election which is taking place today, exclusive polling for Left Foot Forward can reveal.

Of those surveyed, 35% of voters think Keir Starmer should quit as Labour leader, compared to 28% who think he should stay on.

The survey, conducted by Savanta for Left Foot Forward consisted of 2,191 voters.

Voters of all age groups, except those aged between 25-34, say Starmer should go if Labour were to lose the by-election, though 37% answered ‘Don’t Know’. The party has held the seat for nearly a quarter of a century.

Calls for Starmer to go were highest in the North-East of the country, with 47% saying the Labour leader should resign if he loses the by-election today.

Support for Starmer to remain however, was highest in the North-West, with 34% of those asked saying he should stay on as leader even if he loses the crucial by-election.

Among those who voted Labour in 2019, 33% believe Starmer should resign if he loses compared to 42% who think he should stay. Of those who had voted Conservative, 46% believe Starmer should quit.

It comes as talk of a leadership challenge grows as voters in Batley and Spen go to the polls.

The party is hoping to avoid another crushing loss, following defeats in Hartlepool and Chesham and Amersham, where Labour recorded its worst by-election defeat, coming in fourth place with just 622 votes.

Starmer has already insisted that he will not be quitting should he lose the by-election, but that has not stopped growing talk of a challenge to his leadership.

The Times reported last night that supporters of Angela Rayner were ‘preparing for her to challenge Keir Starmer’s leadership’ should the party lose, claiming that MPs had been ‘canvassing support’ for the deputy leader.

Rayner has strongly rejected the claims taking to Twitter to say: “The ‘story’ on the front page of @thetimes tomorrow is news to me.”

Meanwhile, Manchester Metro mayor Andy Burnham hasn’t ruled out a return to Westminster in a profile piece in the New Statesman published yesterday, though he stressed his loyalty to Starmer.

It comes after a YouGov poll of Labour Party members for Sky News revealed that 69% of those surveyed believe Burnham would be a better leader than Starmer, with 41% saying Starmer should quit if Labour loses Batley.

The question for the LFF poll read:There is a by-election in the seat of Batley and Spen in July, which the Labour Party have held since the 1997 General Election. If Labour lose this by-election in July, which of the following statements is closest to your view?

Keir Starmer should resign as Labour leader, Keir Starmer should not resign as Labour leader, Don’t know.

Polling by Savanta: ComRes for Left Foot Forward. Fieldwork Conducted18th – 20th Jun 2021. Poll of 2191 18+ year olds in Great Britain.

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