Labour should back recovery universal basic income, say LabourList readers

LabourList readers overwhelmingly back the idea of the Labour Party supporting a universal basic income as part of the UK’s coronavirus recovery, our latest survey has found.

Asked whether Labour should adopt the policy, over 75% of the 6,071 readers who took part in our most recent survey said ‘yes’, with only 10% of respondents expressing the view that Labour should not do so.

The new Labour leadership has rejected the proposal to introduce a UBI during the Covid-19 crisis. Keir Starmer’s spokesperson said its implementation was “unlikely to be possible”.

Whether Starmer would be open to a recovery UBI is less clear. His team has only spoken of “a new settlement that is more simple, more effective and offers proper protection to people”.

Most readers believe that the government is handling the coronavirus crisis “very badly”, the survey also revealed, and a clear majority said they thought Labour had not been critical enough.

62% described Labour as “not critical enough” of the government’s Covid-19 response, while 36.5% said the opposition party had been “the right amount of critical”. Just 0.6% said Labour was “too critical”.

Starmer vowed on the day of his election that he would not provide “opposition for opposition’s sake”. The leader has said he is “trying to resist calls for apologies or criticising past decisions”.

But he has recently ramped up criticism of the government, declaring at his first PMQs that it had been “slow into lockdown, slow on testing, slow on protective equipment”.

A majority of readers said they were happy with Starmer’s leadership so far, with a total of 54.6% saying they were fairly or very happy and 42% saying they were fairly or very unhappy.

The most popular answer was “very happy” and the second most popular was “very unhappy”. The question appeared to polarise our readership, with strong views on both sides.

The results also showed that readers are overwhelmingly in favour of Labour calling on the government to extend the Brexit transition period, which it has so far refused to do.

Jeremy Corbyn, Richard Burgon and Rosena Allin-Khan, closely followed by John McDonnell, topped the new poll of favourite Labour MPs whereby readers chose from the complete list of 202.

Rebecca Long-Bailey, Rosena Allin-Khan and Ed Miliband emerged as the top three favourite shadow cabinet members of LabourList readers polled. Angela Rayner and Lisa Nandy placed fourth and fifth.

Before becoming leader, Starmer often topped the LabourList shadow cabinet poll and only ever came second to McDonnell. Emily Thornberry was often in the top three, but has placed eighth post-Corbyn.

1. Are you happy with Keir Starmer’s leadership of the Labour Party since his election?

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  1. Very happy – 35.6% (2,159)
  2. Very unhappy – 24.7% (1,499)
  3. Fairly happy – 19% (1,156)
  4. Fairly unhappy – 17.5% (1,064)
  5. Don’t know – 3.2% (193)

2. How well or badly do you think the government is handling coronavirus?

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  1. Very badly – 74.3% (4,508)
  2. Fairly badly – 19.2% (1,163)
  3. Fairly well – 4.7% (287)
  4. Very well – 1.4% (85)
  5. Don’t know – 0.5% (28)

3. On the government’s handling of coronavirus, do you think Labour has been…

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  1. Not critical enough – 62.3% (3,780)
  2. The right amount of critical – 36.5% (2,218)
  3. Too critical – 0.6% (37)
  4. Don’t know – 0.6% (36)

4. Do you think Labour should support the idea of a universal basic income as part of the UK’s coronavirus recovery?

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  1. Yes – 75.6% (4,591)
  2. Don’t know – 13.8% (838)
  3. No – 10.6% (642)

5. Britain is currently in a Brexit transition period that is due to end in December. Do you think Labour should call on the government to extend it?

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  1. Yes – 75.6% (4,590)
  2. No – 17.1% (1,039)
  3. Don’t know – 7.3% (442)

6. Who are your favourite Labour MPs?

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Below are the top 30 Labour MPs picked by LabourList readers.

  1. Jeremy Corbyn – 2,282
  2. Richard Burgon – 1,237
  3. Rosena Allin-Khan – 1,229
  4. John McDonnell – 1,138
  5. Keir Starmer – 891
  6. Diane Abbott – 762
  7. Yvette Cooper – 684
  8. Lisa Nandy – 639
  9. Hilary Benn – 518
  10. Rebecca Long-Bailey – 505
  11. David Lammy – 489
  12. Zarah Sultana – 486
  13. Angela Rayner – 402
  14. Dawn Butler – 394
  15. Anneliese Dodds – 380
  16. Clive Lewis – 370
  17. Ed Miliband – 309
  18. Jess Phillips – 309
  19. Nadia Whittome – 284
  20. Jon Ashworth – 283
  21. Ian Lavery – 277
  22. Barry Gardiner – 270
  23. Stella Creasy – 230
  24. Emily Thornberry – 185
  25. Margaret Beckett – 124
  26. Harriet Harman – 122
  27. Rachel Reeves – 116
  28. Lloyd Russell-Moyle – 98
  29. Ian Murray – 91
  30. Bell Ribeiro-Addy – 79

7. Who are your favourite shadow cabinet members?

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Below are the top 15 shadow cabinet members picked by LabourList readers.

  1. Rebecca Long-Bailey – 2,690
  2. Rosena Allin-Khan – 2,392
  3. Ed Miliband – 1,479
  4. Angela Rayner – 1,475
  5. Lisa Nandy – 1,401
  6. David Lammy – 1,386
  7. Anneliese Dodds – 1,385
  8. Emily Thornberry – 978
  9. Andy McDonald – 788
  10. Jonathan Ashworth – 713
  11. Cat Smith – 677
  12. Marsha de Cordova – 531
  13. Rachel Reeves – 415
  14. Ian Murray – 287
  15. Nick Thomas-Symonds – 209

The survey was open from 4pm on Friday 8th May until 3pm on Sunday 10th May. The results are unweighted and from a self-selected sample of readers. Thank you to all 6,071 readers who took part.

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