Andrew Marr: Expert on Keir Starmer’s struggle in polls
One survey showed a three percent drop for the Opposition party since December, when the Government’s Covid vaccine programme was rolled out. And another poll showed Britons would prefer to see Boris Johnson rather than Sir Keir holding the reins throughout the rest of the pandemic.
Speaking during a visit to Essex on Monday, Sir Keir insisted Labour’s “priorities are in the right place” and claimed his group were “about even” with the Conservative Party in the polls.
Research carried out by IpsosMORI for the Evening Standard showed support for the opposition party has fallen by three percentage points since December.
The ballot put Labour on 38 percent behind the Conservatives on 42 percent, up one point in the past two months.
When asked who they would rather see in charge of the country until the end of the coronavirus crisis, 44 percent said Mr Johnson while only 27 percent backed Sir Keir.
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Sixty- percent of respondents who identified as Labour supporters said they would like to see Sir Keir steer the UK until the pandemic ends.
Following a difficult and embarrassing week for his leadership, Sir Keir said his group were doing much better in the opinion polls compared to their performance last year.
The Government’s swift rollout of the Covid vaccine has boosted the Tories’ popularity over the past few months.
Sir Keir said Labour was channelling its resources towards identifying the needs of families and businesses across the country after a difficult week for his leadership.
He admitted his party has “a long way to go” before the next general election, scheduled for 2024.
In a pub in Thurrock after a visit to Basildon town centre, he told reporters: “We started in a very poor place a year or so ago, 24 points behind the Government.
“We’re now getting to a position where on the polls we’re about even, so that’s a step in the right direction.
“But we’ve got a long way to go between now and 2024 and we’re going to be working hard at this with real determination, every day, every week, every month, every year, into that election in 2024.”
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Last week saw Sir Keir endure something of a nightmare when the Guardian leaked his transparent plans to rebrand Labour as a party of patriots.
Proposals to reshape Labour were published on Tuesday, revealing details from an internal strategy presentation which showed Sir Keir’s desperate bid to win back voters.
The plan to make Labour appear more patriotic focused on “use of the [union] flag, veterans [and] dressing smartly”.
And Sir Keir was forced to apologise after a blunder during Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday.
The Prime Minister said the UK’s rollout would have been delayed if it had remained in the European Medicines Agency (EMA), which he said Sir Keir had wanted to remain a member of.
In their fiery exchange at the despatch box, Sir Keir branded Mr Johnson’s word’s “complete nonsense”.
But a Tory HQ video later surfaced showing the Labour leader had called for the UK to remain a member of the EMA.
Sir Keir issued an apology and claimed he had “misheard” the Prime Minister.
The IpsosMORI research was carried out from January 29 to February 4, with a total of 1,056 adults taking part in the telephone surveys.
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