A Survation poll of more than 5,000 Labour members has exposed just how sharply divided the party remains. The pollsters asked if they thought Starmer was right or wrong not to restore the whip to Jeremy Corbyn and remarkably a slight majority of those asked said they thought he was wrong. The result will worry Starmer, particularly given that his thumping leadership victory back in April was followed by an exodus of members who were clearly sympathetic to Corbyn. The party has lost almost 60,000 members since Starmer took over and yet here's a poll backing his predecessor.
The poll will undoubtedly boost morale in the Corbyn camp as his supporters seek to get him reinstated as a Labour MP. That campaign looks set to get really messy as news emerged on Thursday night that Corbyn is taking legal action over the party whip. According to The Guardian Corbyn's team intend to make public details of backroom deals that predetermined his punishment. This will of course be of huge embarrassment to Starmer and will do no end of harm as he tries to present his divided party as a genuine opposition. The Conservatives have already recovered a small lead in the last five opinion polls, bucking a trend towards Labour that had seen the huge Tory pre-pandemic lead demolished.
In a further blow to Starmer the Survation poll found that his net favourability rating among members was less than Lisa Nandy's, someone who finished a distant third in the leadership election. He is also less popular than hapless colleagues such as Jonathan Ashworth, Ed Miliband and Angela Rayner.
The Survation poll wasn't a complete disaster for Starmer as he fared a little better when members were asked if they thought the party was moving in the right direction. The gulf was still clear to see, but more than half thought he was taking them in the right direction. Still, for someone who scored such a comprehensive win in the leadership election to have 40 per cent now disavowing his leadership is woeful.
If this poll is anything to go by the future's not looking too bright for Sir Squeaky.