The Labour party just received a £4.5 million ($5.9 million) windfall from people who are desperate to vote in the upcoming leadership contest.
Britain’s opposition confirmed that it had raked in 183,541 applications to vote over the past 48 hours. It costs £25 to become a registered supporter and to qualify for voting for either the incumbent leader Jeremy Corbyn or newcomer Owen Smith, if they signed up after January 12, this year.
It is unclear whether these newly registered voters are planning to vote for or against Jeremy Corbyn but in a range of interviews with Business Insider, there seemed to be a pretty even split between those planning to vote against him, as well as supporting him.
However a Labour spokesperson told the BBC that it was “reasonable to assume” that the majority of the newly signed up members will be supporting Corbyn.
Corbyn last night tweeted:
183k Registered Supporters signed up in 48 hrs to vote in Labour leadership. I hope they all become full members & help us beat the Tories
— Jeremy Corbyn MP (@jeremycorbyn) July 20, 2016
Those newly registered voters will join the 380,000 existing party members who joined before January 12 and members of affiliated unions.
The Labour party is in a curious predicament at the moment and is on the brink of self-destruct.
Last month, a coup from within the Labour party sought to topple Corbyn. Labour rebels claim that Corbyn is unelectable and ought to be replaced.
However Corbyn refused to resign as leader despite dozens of MPs resigning from his shadow cabinet and Corbyn losing a vote of “No Confidence” 172 to 40.
He has said it would be undemocratic to resign from the top spot, considering he has the overwhelming majority of the vote from members. After all, last year he was voted in by a landslide victory.
But the National Executive Committee (NEC) voted in favour of Corbyn going straight onto the ballot, meaning he will not be required to secure nominations from 51 MPs and MEPs in order to fight for his leadership.
Meanwhile, the latest polls and bookmaker odds paint a difficult situation for Labour.
Corbyn looks like a dead cert for winning the leadership election in September. In fact, Corbyn’s odds of keeping the Labour leadership have improved dramatically since rival Angela Eagle dropped out of the race on Tuesday.
- Ladbrokes: Corbyn 4/11 — Smith 2/1
- William Hill: Corbyn 4/11 — Smith 2/1
- Betfair: Corbyn 4/9 — Smith 13/8
- Paddy Power: Corbyn 4/9 — Smith 13/8
- Sky Bet: Corbyn 2/5 — Smith 7/4
A YouGov Labour member poll released on Tuesday suggested that Corbyn had more support than both Smith and previous leadership runner Angela Eagle put together.
But while this looks great for Corbyn, the latest YouGov poll could lend support to Labour rebels who say Corbyn is unelectable as a prime minister. The ruling Conservative party are absolutely battering Labour in the polls.
Shortly after Theresa May savaged Corbyn in her debut Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs), a new YouGov poll was published, which gave a huge 11-point lead to the Tories (40% > 29%).
As my colleague Adam Payne pointed out, these kind of figures are unprecedented.
“Even the Labour party under Ed Miliband’s leadership, which went on to lose last year’s general election, was enjoying leads up to 6-points at this stage in the last electoral cycle. History says that opposition parties should almost always be leading the polls at this stage,” he said in a report on Wednesday.
Corbyn officially launches his campaign to retain his leadership on Thursday and Business Insider’s Adam Payne will be there to cover the event.