LABOUR’S popularity would be boosted significantly if the party dumped Jeremy Corbyn as leader, according to a new poll.
The UK-wide BMG survey for The Herald, carried out before the shock Brexit result, found that just over one-third, 36 per cent, said that they could vote for a Corbyn-led Labour party.
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But that figure jumped to almost half, 48 per cent, if the veteran socialist was no longer in charge – a 12 point boost.
Mr Corbyn is facing intense pressure to resign following a series of dramatic resignations from his shadow cabinet.
Many MPs are furious with their leader who they accuse of running a half-hearted campaign to keep the UK in the EU.
On Thursday millions of Labour voters, particularly in the party’s traditional heartlands, rejected its message to vote Remain.
Party insiders are terrified the rift with voters could lead to a Scottish-style wipeout of Labour MPs in the north of England if there is a snap general election.
Yesterday MP after MP walked out of Mr Corbyn’s frontbench in protest at his leadership.
Among them was Ian Murray, the shadow Scottish Secretary and Labour’s only Scottish MP.
Mr Corbyn now faces finding a replacement among members of the House of Lords or MPs with English or Welsh seats.
Mr Murray described the decision as one of the most difficult he had ever had to make, but said that he did not believe Labour could win an election under the current leadership.
First to leave was shadow foreign secretary Hilary Benn, sacked in the early hours of yesterday morning after he expressed a lack of confidence in the leadership.
From breakfast onwards Labour MPs were resigning at a rate of one every few hours.
Among them were shadow health secretary Heidi Alexander, shadow education secretary Lucy Powell and shadow transport secretary Lilian Greenwood.
Labour MPs have tabled a motion of no confidence in Mr Corbyn, which will be discussed at the weekly meeting of Labour MPs in Westminster tonight.
Sources suggest that a vote could be held as early as tomorrow.
A spokesman for Mr Corbyn insisted that he would not stand down.
At the weekend he insisted he would stand again if there was another leadership contest.
The BMG poll found that among those who voted Labour in 2015, 85 per cent said they would consider doing so again if Mr Corbyn was leader.
But that figure jumped to 93 per cent if he resigned.
Among current Labour party supporters the figure remained flat at 91 per cent, despite tens of thousands of them joining expressly in order to vote in Mr Corbyn.
Among those in the centre of the political spectrum, which makes up around half of the population, 31 per cent said they would consider voting for Labour under Mr Corbyn, a figure that leapt to 46 per cent if he left.
However, among those who consider themselves fairly or very left-wing the number dipped slightly, from 78 per cent to 76 per cent.
Michael Turner, from BMG, said: “A Labour Party without Corbyn at the helm would have a much wider appeal with the public, particularly moderates, those who prioritise economic issues and those who have previously voted Labour but have switched their support since the 2015 General Election."
However, the poll found there was still a much more unpopular one-time leader of Labour, Tony Blair.
The party’s most successful leader, who led them to three general election victories, is still seen as toxic.
Labour moderates are desperate to keep other figures from the left of the party, such as shadow chancellor John McDonnell, off the ballot paper in any future contest.
Yesterday he defended Mr Corbyn’s leadership in the EU debate, saying that he had “delivered” Labour voters and was “not going anywhere”.
He also ruled himself out of any future leadership bid.
He told the BBC: “I’m not standing as leader of the Labour party no matter what.”
Those tipped to throw their hats in the ring in any race to lead the party include former leadership candidate Yvette Cooper, shadow business secretary Angela Eagle and possibly former soldier Dan Jarvis.
A source said that there was disbelief when Mr Corbyn read from a prepared statement at the shadow cabinet meeting on Friday morning just hours after the Brexit result was announced.
“He is just not up to the job,” he added.
Last night Unite boss Len McCluskey warned anti-Corbyn MPs that they could find themselves targets for de-selection.
Despite the walkouts, Mr Corbyn’s allies suggested that that there was no limit to the number of shadow cabinet members who could be replaced.
BMG asked 1,638 adults between May 20 and 25.