69% of Labour members prefer Burnham over Starmer as leader, poll finds

Elliot Chappell

A new poll has found that almost seven in ten Labour Party members believe that Andy Burnham would make a better leader than Keir Starmer.

YouGov polling commissioned by Sky News, published this morning, showed that 69% of members would prefer the Greater Manchester mayor for the top job despite him not being able to stand in a leadership contest as he is not an MP.

94% felt that Burnham is “doing well”, compared to 55% for Starmer. London mayor Sadiq Khan scored 87%, 68% thought Shadow Foreign Secretary Lisa Nandy was doing well and 67% approved of how deputy leader Angela Rayner is doing.

54% of members thought that Starmer should remain in position, against 34% who said the current Labour leader should stand down. But this narrowed to 48% and 41% respectively should the party lose the Batley and Spen by-election.

Labour members in the North of England were less positive about Starmer. 50% said the Labour leader should resign if the party loses the by-election on Thursday compared to 42% who said he should stay.

If a leadership contest were called now, from existing Labour MPs, the survey found that Yvette Cooper would get the highest level of support. 35% of members reported that the home affairs select committee chair would get their first preference.

According to the research, Nandy would win the support of 13%; 12% said they would give deputy leader Angela Rayner their first preference; former leadership challenger Rebecca Long-Bailey would get 11%; and Richard Burgon 6%.

Burnham, who is not eligible to stand, significantly outperformed the other potentials in the poll. 38% thought that Cooper would make a better leader than Starmer, compared to the 69% who thought that Burnham would do a better job.

Polling 871 Labour members over the past week, the research also saw 65% of respondents say that the opposition party is on course to lose the next general election, against 21% who believe Labour are likely to win.

Batley and Spen is the second contest this year in which the opposition party is looking to hold onto one of its parliamentary seats. The party lost the ‘Red Wall’ Hartlepool constituency in a historic by-election defeat in May.

The Batley and Spen contest was triggered when the incumbent Labour representative Tracey Brabin won the West Yorkshire metro mayor election earlier this year, forcing her to step down from parliament.

According to Survation polling earlier this month, the Conservatives are on track to take 47% of the vote on Thursday while Labour is behind in second place on 41%. George Galloway, also standing, is predicted to take 6% of the vote.

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