The Mayor of Greater Manchester said no allies of his would claim he’s put a 12-month demand on the Labour leader – as a poll put Labour on 35%, down two points despite the fuel crisis and Sir Keir’s conference speech
Labour’s vote share has dropped in a key poll despite Keir Starmer ’s first full conference speech and the Tories presiding over a fuel crisis.
Opinium put Labour on 35%, down two points compared to its last survey, compared to 39% for the Tories, down one point.
It came as “allies” of Andy Burnham gave Sir Keir a year to prove he can lead the party to victory at an election – which the Tories have refused to rule out holding in 2023.
According to the Mail on Sunday, the unnamed allies claim Labour must be ‘three or four points’ ahead of the Tories in 12 months’ time.
But the Mayor of Greater Manchester today flatly denied the claims, telling the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: “Anyone who calls themselves an ally of mine and is saying that isn’t an ally of mine – that is patently untrue. I’ve never said that to anybody. In fact, I’ve committed to serve a full second term as mayor of Greater Manchester.”
Pressed to say Sir Keir was doing a good job and he was not going after the leader’s job, he replied: “I’ll agree with that”.
The poll of 2,004 adults was carried out between Wednesday and Friday, with Sir Keir giving his first conference address on Wednesday lunchtime.
Sir Keir did enjoy a small improvement in his personal net approval rating, up from minus 6 to minus 5.
But his party slipped further behind despite 69% saying the government have responded badly to the HGV driver shortage, with 67% blaming them for the current crisis.
Some 27% said they had been able to get what they wanted from a shop or supermarket, while 24% reported being unable to get fuel from a petrol station.
Sir Keir has tried to capitalise on the Tory “incompetence”, including with an opinion piece slamming the government in the Sun newspaper.
He wrote: “I don’t want people in this country to have another Christmas spoiled by this Prime Minister’s lack of planning.”
But several top Labour figures have already been suggesting Sir Keir should announce soon more details of what Labour would do in government.
Shadow cabinet minister David Lammy told the Mirror last week: “I think we will have to accelerate that up to about Christmas, and I say that because there are some rumours we might be having a general election next year, and we have to be ready.
“The public have to kind of hear about Labour policy long before it’s in the manifesto.”
Sir Keir’s 90-minute conference speech had relatively little firm policy and instead focused on trying to bury the Jeremy Corbyn era, with the leader saying: “We will never under my leadership go into an election with a manifesto that is not a serious plan for government.”
The Mail on Sunday also carried claims that three Labour MPs have “opened lines of communication” with Tory whips about defecting to the Tories. The MPs are not named.
Another poll, by Redfield and Wilton Strategies for The Sun, today presented less rosy reading for Boris Johnson.
Nearly one in five who voted Tory in 2019 said the fuel shortage had made them less likely to back the party at the next election, the poll suggested.