Jeremy Corbyn is the most unpopular Opposition leader ever, according to a new poll, as the Labour leader prepares to face an all-out Remainer rebellion at his party’s annual conference.
The veteran left-winger’s net rating of minus 60 is below that of his hero Michael Foot who led Labour to disaster in the early 1980s and whose hard-left 1983 general election manifesto was described as the ‘longest suicide note in history’.
The latest Ipsos MORI survey found that just 16 per cent of voters are satisfied with Mr Corbyn’s performance, compared to 76 per cent who are dissatisfied – giving him a net rating of minus 60.
Mr Corbyn’s rating is the lowest ever recorded for an Opposition leader by the polling firm which started asking how satisfied people were with their political leaders in 1977.
Labour’s annual gathering kicks off in Brighton this weekend, with Mr Corbyn under intense pressure to shift position on Brexit.
He has already bowed to demands from senior figures including Keir Starmer, John McDonnell and Emily Thornberry for the party’s next manifesto to promise a second referendum on any deal with the EU.
But Mr Corbyn has so far resisted saying he would campaign for Remain in that national vote.
A series of motions being tabled at the conference could force his hand and make Labour take an explicitly pro-EU stance.
The latest Ipsos MORI survey found that just 16 per cent are satisfied with Jeremy Corbyn’s performance, compared to 76 per cent who are dissatisfied – giving a net rating of minus 60
Mr Corbyn, pictured addressing a climate change rally in London today, will this weekend travel to Brighton for Labour’s annual conference
Mr Corbyn has seen his popularity sink below that of his hero Michael Foot who is pictured in the 1980s. His minus 60 rating is also significantly lower than Ed Miliband’s worst ever rating of minus 44.
Harriet Harman faces Corbynite threat over Speaker bid
Harriet Harman (file picture) today vowed to push on with her bid to become the next Commons Speaker despite local activists threatening to oust her from her seat
Harriet Harman today vowed to push on with her bid to become the next Commons Speaker despite local activists threatening to oust her from her seat.
The former minister’s Camberwell and Peckham constituency party voted last night to express ‘disquiet’ at her run for the coveted post.
Members also hinted that she could face a rival Labour candidate at the next election if she becomes Speaker – flouting the convention of the main parties not fielding opponents to the presiding officer.
However, Ms Harman insisted the move – which underlines the threat to moderate MPs from left-wing actisists – would not deter her: ‘I will not back down.’
The party leadership has also made clear it will stick to the ‘long-standing commitment’ of not contesting the Speaker’s seat.
The scale of the challenge Mr Corbyn faces in balancing the overwhelmingly Remainer membership with the party’s Leave-leaning northern heartlands was underlined this week, with polls suggesting the Lib Dems have leap-frogged Labour into second place.
Jo Swinson’s party has made a high-profile pledge to revoke Article 50 and cancel Brexit without a referendum if it wins power.
Mr Corbyn’s minus 60 rating is 10 points down on the previous level in July, and compares to Mr Foot’s worst rating of minus 56 shortly after the end of the Falklands War.
Mr Corbyn has dipped below Mr Foot – who was trounced by Margaret Thatcher in the 1983 election – once before, in June this year.
The survey found that just one in five see Mr Corbyn as a good representative of Britain on the world stage, and almost half view him as out of touch with ordinary people.
Even Labour supporters are exasperated with his ambiguous stance on Brexit – with more believing he is doing a bad job on the key issue than a good job.
Keiran Pedley, research director at Ipsos MORI, said: ‘Corbyn’s historically dire personal poll ratings will concern Labour supporters as the party heads into an expected general election.
‘When Tony Blair and David Cameron assumed office from opposition, both had positive net satisfaction scores and Corbyn’s currently stands at minus 60.
Michel Barnier labels Brexit ‘school of patience’
Michel Barnier has labelled Brexit a ‘school of patience’ and warned Boris Johnson any backstop replacement must deliver the same level of protection as the current Irish border insurance policy.
The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator said today he was neither optimistic nor pessimistic that a new deal could be struck by the October 31 deadline.
But he insisted he was ‘determined’ to try to make sure the two sides split on good terms after a meeting with Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay in Brussels.
‘However, he was able to significantly improve his personal poll ratings during the 2017 general election campaign so perhaps he will again.
‘Whether he can do so against the backdrop of a resurgent Lib Dems and lukewarm public support for his Brexit stance remains to be seen.’
The third worst opposition leader since Ipsos MORI began asking the question in 1977 was Ed Miliband, who notched up a minus 44 rating in November 2014.
The worst Tory opposition leaders were William Hague and Iain Duncan-Smith, who both recorded lows of minus 37.
By contrast, Margaret Thatcher was a much more popular leader as she never dipped below minus 13.
Meanwhile, Tony Blair’s lowest point before he entered Downing Street was plus 7.
Labour’s shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry compares the Liberal Democrats to the TALIBAN as she attacks Jo Swinson’s plan to cancel Brexit without a second referendum
Emily Thornberry has compared the Liberal Democrats to the Taliban as she suggested the party’s policy of cancelling Brexit without a second referendum is undemocratic.
Jo Swinson confirmed earlier this week that if her party won a majority at an early general election it would revoke Article 50 on day one of being in power.
But Ms Thornberry, the shadow foreign secretary, said the 2016 EU referendum result should not be overturned ‘without asking the people first’ as she launched a blistering attack on the resurgent Lib Dems.
Her decision to liken the party to the Taliban sparked a furious response from the Lib Dems with a senior source telling MailOnline the comments were ‘outrageous’ and ‘designed to distract’ from Labour’s Brexit chaos.
Ms Swinson said it was a ‘ludicrous’ comparison to make and added: ‘Emily is the shadow foreign secretary, and should use language that reflects the importance of that role.’
Emily Thornberry, pictured in Westminster on September 4, said the Lib Dems have ‘gotten kind of Taliban’ over Brexit
Lib Dem MP Chuka Umunna has demanded Ms Thornberry withdraw her ‘inappropriate remarks’ as he said comparing the party to a ‘murderous organisation is no laughing matter’.
The row comes after a YouGov poll published this week put the Lib Dems ahead of Labour as Ms Swinson’s party jumped from 19 per cent to 23 per cent after she fully committed to cancelling Brexit.
A Brexit battle continues to rage inside the Labour Party after Jeremy Corbyn said if he becomes PM he would hold a referendum, offering voters the choice between a new divorce deal and Remain.
However, he suggested he would remain neutral and would not advocate for either option, prompting senior Labour figures to warn the party will be ‘steamrollered’ at an election if Mr Corbyn continues to try to sit on the fence on Brexit.
There is a growing concern among some Labour MPs that the party’s Brexit stance will result in floods of Remain voters who previously backed Labour switching to the Lib Dems.
Ms Thornberry told The House magazine: ‘The Lib Dems have gotten kind of Taliban, haven’t they?
Jo Swinson, pictured at Lib Dem conference on September 17, said her party will revoke Article 50 if it wins a majority at the next general election
‘They’ve said they’re just going to revoke, there’s not going to be another referendum.
‘I don’t think it’s very democratic to seek to overturn a referendum without asking the people first.
‘I really think the only democratic way to get through this and to break the logjam is to go back to the people and trust their good sense.’
A senior Lib Dem source hit back and suggested Ms Thornberry had gone on the attack because Labour has been rattled by Ms Swinson and the party’s strong poll ratings.
‘This sort of language is outrageous and deeply unhelpful in our politics,’ the source said.
‘Thornberry knows the Lib Dem plan is to continue to fight for a People’s Vote, and that our revoke policy is if we win a majority in a general election.
‘This sort of attack on the Lib Dems is designed to distract from her woeful leader still hedging his bets and hoping Brexit goes through.’