General election result: Nearly twice as many Labour voters defected over Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership than party’s Brexit stance, poll finds

General election result: Nearly twice as many Labour voters defected over Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership than party’s Brexit stance, poll finds

More voters turned against Labour because of Jeremy Corbyn rather than Brexit, according a poll probing the reasons for the party’s greatest electoral defeat in decades. 

Pollsters Opinium found that among 2017 Labour voters who defected at last night’s general election, 37 per cent of them cited the leadership of the party as their main reason. 

Despite Mr Corbyn’s claim the election “was taken over ultimately by Brexit”, 21 per cent said they defected due to the party’s stance on EU membership while just six per cent said their main reason was Labour’s economic policies.

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It comes as the Labour leader indicated he would step down from his role at the start of the new year, but remain in place for the duration of a leadership contest, which could take several months.

Among Labour voters who switched allegiances to the Tories, 45 per cent cited Mr Corbyn’s leadership as the main issue while 29 per cent of those who defected to the Liberal Democrats did so.  

leftCreated with Sketch.
rightCreated with Sketch.

Of all respondents who said they did not vote for the Labour Party at the first December election in almost a century, 43 per cent said their main reason was the leadership. A further 17 per cent placed blame with the triangulation on Brexit and 12 per cent of the economic policies put forward in Labour’s manifesto. 

Speaking as the final results of the general election filtered in – showing Labour’s worst result in the post-war era – Mr Corbyn addressed the timetable of his departure from the helm of the party.  

“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 party of next year,” he said. “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.”

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Responding to a disastrous night for Labour, which saw a string of its strongholds fall to the Tories, Mr Corbyn said he would not be leading the party into another general election.

But speaking after retaining his Islington North seat, he said he intended to take Labour through a “process of reflection” while it considered the way forward.

“I will discuss with our party to ensure there is a process now of reflection on this result and on the policies that the party will take going forward,” he said. 

Opinium Research carried out an online survey of 5,641 UK adults aged 18+ on 13th December 2019 for its on the day poll. Results have been weighted to representative criteria.

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