Keir Starmer calls for UK to ’embrace the change that’s coming’
The Savanta Comres poll, published on Thursday, came as a bitter blow to Sir Keir on the day he delivered a keynote speech which was perceived by many as a bid to relaunch his leadership. The research, which involved interviews with 2,170 UK adults aged 18 and over online from February 12 and 14, suggested 43 percent saw Mr Johnson as making the best Prime Minister, compared with 38 percent in January.
By contrast, Sir Keir’s tally – 27 percent – was four down on the previous month.
Additionally, Boris Johnson’s net favourability rating of -2 percent (up six points compared with last month, now eclipses that of Sir Keir on -4 percent (down two points).
As for voting intentions, the Tories on 42 percent (up one point), Labour 37 percent (down one, the Lib Dems seven percent (down one), the SNP four percent (unchanged) and the Greens three percent (down one).
Sir Keir Starmer is struggling to gain traction, Mr Hopkins suggested
Boris Johnson has likely been boosted by the successful vaccine rollout, Mr Hopkins said
I think what the survey indicates is that as the party and Keir himself appreciates, there is an issue.
Chris Hopkins, Savanta Comres Political Research Director, told Express.co.uk: “I think what the survey indicates is that as the party and Keir himself appreciates, there is an issue.
“There is positivity on the Government side of things with the vaccine rollout and that sort of thing.
“The Labour Party has got to start thinking about ways in which they can start to differentiate themselves further down the line.”
Sir Keir Starmer speaking yesterday
One of the perceptions of Sir Keir’s leadership is the extent to which he has so far resisted strong criticism of the Government’s handling of the pandemic response, Mr Hopkins acknowledged.
He said: “Labour and Sir Keir have been walking a tightrope.
“I don’t think that opposing everything the Government did would have played particularly well.
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Sir Keir Starmer defeated Lisa Nandy and Rebecca Long-Bailey last April
Voting intentions in the Savanta ComRes poll
“But I think that looking ahead to 2024, the more similar he is, ultimately it is harder for the public to think there should be much of a change at the next election.
“So he is going to have to present an alternative to the Government at some point otherwise people are going to look at the opposition and think ‘why should we be changing anything?’”
Conversely, with respect to Mr Johnson, Mr Hopkins said the high number of COVID-19 doses administered so far, especially in comparison with the sluggish performance of the European Union, played into his hands.
Mr Hopkins added: “Throughout the pandemic, obviously Boris Johnson and the Government have had their struggles.
Covid vaccination rates compared
“But what is going to get remembered is how we exit and I think a lot of the issues of 2020 are going to be forgotten because the narrative at the minute is a British-led vaccine rollout seems to be going incredibly well.
“And I think that is probably more likely to stick in the minds of voters than perhaps some of the mismanagement of 2020.
“And of course, at the same time, he did eventually get Brexit done, so that’s obviously going to be good news for his prospects.”
During yesterday’s speech, Sir Keir proposed the creation of a “recovery bond” to allow the public to put their household savings into directly funding projects via the state-run National Infrastructure Bank.
Sir Keir Starmer’s various positions on Brexit
He said: “I believe there’s a mood in the air which we don’t detect often in Britain. It was there in 1945, after the sacrifice of war, and it’s there again now.
“It’s the determination that our collective sacrifice must lead to a better future.
“In a few weeks’ time, we’ll have a Budget that will offer a simple choice: a fork in the road.
“We can go back to the same insecure and unequal economy that’s been so cruelly exposed by the virus, or we can seize this moment, and go forward to a future that’s going to look utterly unlike the past.”