Labour MP Jess Phillips 'not surprised' at shock poll putting Liberal Democrats in the lead

Labour MP Jess Phillips ‘not surprised’ at shock poll putting Liberal Democrats in the lead

Labour MP Jess Phillips says she’s “not surprised” by a shocking new opinion poll showing the Liberal Democrats are the most popular political party.

A survey by YouGov for The Times found 24% of voters say they back the Lib Dems, with 22% supporting Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party and Conservatives tied with Labour on 19% of the vote.

It follows the success of the Brexit Party and the Lib Dems in last week’s European elections, when they came first and second respectively.

But this poll asked voters who they would support if a general election was held.

Ms Phillips, Labour MP for Birmingham Yardley, said on Twitter: “I think quite a few of us may have warned of this.

“Frankly I’m not surprised, we have to be better faster otherwise we don’t deserve to govern.

“Just saying we are the goodies over and over doesn’t make people believe it.”

Some critics of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn say the party’s refusal to make it clear whether it supports Brexit or wants to hold a second referendum is costing it votes.

 

For the Tories, the result of the poll may actually come as a relief. They came fifth in the European elections, receiving just 9% of the vote.

Supporters of the Brexit Party argued the poll doesn’t accurately reflect their level of support, because they were not included in the list of parties initially shown to people surveyed. People were shown the more established parties but had to choose an option marked “other” before being offered the Brexit Party as an option.

Labour is in the midst of a bitter internal dispute over whether to back a second referendum.

Labour Deputy Labour Leader Tom Watson backs a public vote on Brexit

Party Chair Ian Lavery, who opposes a second referendum, has accused “leftwing intellectuals” of “sneering” at ordinary vioters.

He said in an article written for The Guardian: “It does feel that a certain portion of ‘leftwing intellectuals’ are sneering at ordinary people and piling on those trying to convey the feelings of hundreds of thousands of Labour voters.

“Perhaps, in reflecting on the results, we should consider the effect all of this has had.”

But Black Country MP Tom Watson, Labour’s Deputy Leader, has stepped up his calls for the party to back a public vote on Brexit.

 

He said over the weekend: “For our party’s sake but, most of all for Britain’s sake, Labour needs to find some backbone on Brexit, find our voice – and do it fast.”

Liberal Democrat MP Jo Swinson has confirmed she hopes to be her party’s new leader.

She said she will lead a movement to tackle “nationalism and populism”.

Jo Swinson
Jo Swinson

The East Dunbartonshire MP used an appearance on BBC’s Question Time to confirm the leadership bid, saying: “I happen to think that this country is crying out for a liberal movement that will challenge the forces of nationalism and populism, and the Liberal Democrats need to be at the heart of that movement and I’m the person to lead it.”

Lib Dem MP and former cabinet minister Sir Ed Davey is standing against her.

The poll is the first time the Lib Dems have been in the top spot in a question on how people will vote in a general election since the heady days of Nick Clegg’s popularity in 2010.

 

But YouGov’s Chris Curtis cautioned against the Lib Dems getting too carried away with the bounce they have enjoyed since the European elections.

He said: “The Cleggmania of 2010 faded fast, with the party falling back in the final weeks of the campaign and ending up with just 1% more of the vote than they had won five years prior.”

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