A poll of Westminster voting intention published by poll aggregator Britain Elects shows Sir Keir Starmer’s party gaining three points at 40 percent while the Conservatives drop one point down to 37 percent. The poll makes grim reading for the Liberal Democrats who languish a distant joint third alongside Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party and the Greens who are all on five percent.
Labour’s lead comes despite a tough week for Sir Keir who has come under fire from the left of his party over the treatment of Mr Corbyn.
The veteran left-winger was readmitted by senior Labour officials after being suspended for suggesting the party’s anti-Semitism issues had “been exaggerated” in the wake of a damning report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission
But Sir Keir has so far refused to restore the Labour whip to his predecessor, sparking a furious backlash among the former leader’s supporters.
Former Labour chairman Ian Lavery told the Commons People podcast: “It looks very much that this is a vengeful, divisive, provocative sort of move from Keir Starmer.
“This isn’t about uniting the party – it looks to me as if it’s a personal and political vendetta now from the new leader of the party to the previous leader of the party.”
Mr Lavery argued Labour needs to set out clearly who made the decision on Mr Corbyn’s suspension.
He said: “Who made the decision that Keir has got the overriding powers to overrule the national executive committee?
“I’m not being melodramatic but that’s a little bit like a tin pot dictatorship to me.
“We’ve got to have some form of democracy in the party and at this moment in time it doesn’t look like we have.”
But Johnson ally Michael Gove has gone head to head with Tory rebels including influential backbencher Sir Graham Brady on the incoming restrictions and insisted the rules were necessary to prevent the NHS being overwhelmed as winter approaches.
Mr Gove is seeking to head off an escalating backbench rebellion, with Sir Graham, Chairman of the 1922 Committee, vowing to vote against the introduction of a new localised tier system once the lockdown comes to an end on December 2, claiming it represented an unreasonable infringement on civil liberties.
Writing in The Times, Mr Gove said the decision to impose the lockdown in November had presented Boris Johnson and his cabinet with a “Devil’s dilemma”.
He said: “We had to act, as they did, because if we did not our health service would have been overwhelmed.”