UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (photos by AFP)
A new poll shows Jeremy Corbyn is set to win the Labour leadership election in a landslide victory by an even bigger margin than last year.
A YouGov survey for British paper The Times found that of all those entitled to vote in the Labour leader contest, 62 percent would vote for Corbyn and only 38 percent would vote for rival Owen Smith.
In a major blow to Smith, this result would represent an increase in support for Corbyn compared to the results of the 2015 leadership election – where he won 59.5 percent of the vote.
This increase in supporters would be a significant achievement given the controversial move to charge a £25 fee for new pro-Corbyn voters.
The Labour Party's National Executive Committee (NEC) ruled that only Labour members who signed up before January 12 are automatically eligible to vote. Those who joined afterwards or want a one-off vote will have to pay a fee of £25.
File photo of Jeremy Corbyn debating with Labour party leader rival Owen Smith (R)
Corbyn has remained steadfast in staying as the party’s leader since being elected only a year ago. The 67-year-old socialist leader has been heavily criticized by the UK’s mainstream media throughout his tenure and overcame pressures to resign.
Labour has been engulfed in a bitter internal power struggle between Corbyn's supporters in the grassroots membership and the party's lawmakers, who overwhelmingly rejected his leadership after Britain's vote to leave the EU. As a result, many of Corbyn’s shadow cabinet members resigned and publicly stated they had no confidence in his leadership.
Smith, a former shadow work and pensions secretary, announced his decision to run in the Labour leadership election in June. He resigned earlier this year from Corbyn's shadow cabinet before challenging for the leadership.
Corbyn has until September 21 to appeal to voters and defeat Smith. The results will be announced in a Liverpool conference three days later.