Exclusive: Poll shows Starmer more trusted than PM on Middle East crisis

Daniel Green
Below the Sky / Shutterstock

Keir Starmer is more trusted than Rishi Sunak to handle the crisis in the Middle East, despite Labour’s recent tensions over Gaza, an exclusive poll for LabourList reveals.

More than half of voters said they could not trust the Prime Minister to deal with the issues in the region, while 40% said they trusted the Labour leader to handle the situation.

The poll of 1,066 adults, carried out by Savanta on April 15 for LabourList, found that only 37.7% trusted the Prime Minister on the Middle East crisis, with 54.6% distrusting him to handle the situation.

Keir Starmer had the trust of 40.1% of those polled, but 46.8% said they did not trust him.

It comes amid rising tensions in the region following Iran’s missile and drone attack on Israel last weekend.

In a visit to Israel yesterday, Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron said Israel has decided to retaliate against Iran for the attack on Saturday night, sparking renewed fears of a possible escalation in the conflict.

Cameron told reporters: “It’s clear the Israelis are making a decision to act. We hope they do so in a way that does as little to escalate this as possible.”

Trust in Keir Starmer for his approach to the Middle East crisis was highest among those aged between 25 and 34, with 47.4% backing the Labour leader.

More than one in four 2019 Conservative voters also trusted Starmer to handle the situation in the Middle East.

The figures come despite high-profile internal rows over Labour’s position on the Israel-Gaza conflict, and as David Lammy set out his vision for the foreign policy of a Labour government.

Writing in Foreign Affairs, Lammy said that, since the start of the Israel-Hamas conflict, Labour has stuck to progressive principles and called for international law to be respected by all parties.

He said: “The United Kingdom cannot end this terrible conflict, but it does have the capacity to surge aid to support rebuilding – and a key goal for the Labour Party is to work with international partners to recognise Palestine as a state, as a contribution to securing a negotiated two-state solution.”

The poll also found more than half of Labour voters and a quarter of Tory voters say the row over Angela Rayner’s housing arrangements “sounds like a smear campaign”.

Around a third of all voters said the deputy leader being a woman was a relevant factor in the level of press attention given to the story.

Some 30% said it was a factor, while 34% cited her personality, 28% cited her working-class background and 25% cited her being northern.

The survey also found that more than twice as many voters felt favourable towards the Labour deputy leader than her Tory counterpart Oliver Dowden, despite the story.

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