Political researcher Lord Ashcroft has been conducting focus groups to find out what the public really thinks about what is going on in British politics at the moment.
The groups — which were made up of people from across the country including both Remain and Leave voters — were asked for their thoughts on numerous issues including the Labour Party leadership contest.
Current leader Jeremy Corbyn is fighting to overcome the challenge of more moderate candidate Owen Smith after the majority of his own MPs backed a motion of “no confidence” against him last month.
When asked to compare high-profile politicians to Game Of Thrones characters, the focus groups gave responses which explained perfectly two major reasons why Corbyn will more than likely win the upcoming contest.
Game of Thrones fans will recognise Tyrion Lannister as a character who has a handful of fierce enemies but enjoys a close network of support that has helped him avert disaster on multiple occasions. The same can be said for Corbyn. The veteran socialist is deeply unpopular with Labour MPs but has the loyalty of thousands of party members who will vote in mass to keep him as the party’s leader.
This explains why he is the overwhelming favourite to win the contest. The bookmakers’ latest odds have Corbyn at around 1/5 to keep hold of his leadership (about 83% probability). Then there is the major problem facing Smith.
The former shadow work and pensions secretary is backed by the majority of Labour MPs but outside of Westminster is barely known by anybody — even among Labour party membership. Smith is like an extra because up until very recently he was a minor character within the Labour Party. He has been an MP for just five years and had no intention of running for the leadership this time last month.
The focus groups reiterated this point.
Other comments made about the Labour Party included:
- “Where do you start? I’ve never seen a party like it. It’s a farce.”
- “I hope May doesn’t call an election. We would be entirely wiped out.”
- Labour’s disintegration has left a “massive chasm at the centre of politics. If there was a new party, I’d give them a go.”
The result of the Labour Party leadership contest will be announced on September 24. A high court ruled on Thursday that the party’s chief administrative body’s decision to put automatically put Corbyn on the ballot was legal, meaning, unlike Smith had to, he will not have secure nominations from 51 Labour MPs and MEPs.
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