Shropshire Star poll backs Boris and bashes Corbyn

There are few certainties in politics, but one thing we can be sure of is that the next general election in 2020 will be to elect a new prime minister.

Next Tory leader? Half of those taking part in our survey said Boris Johnson should take over from outgoing David Cameron
Next Tory leader? Half of those taking part in our survey said Boris Johnson should take over from outgoing David Cameron

Before last year's general election David Cameron said he would not be seeking a third term at Number 10, effectively firing the starting gun for a race to succeed him.

Our poll to find who the next premier could be provided mixed results for the politicians jockeying to take his place at the dispatch box.

The big winner appears to be Boris Johnson, who was the clear favourite among Star readers to become the next Conservative leader.

Mr Johnson, who was once married to Shropshire socialite Allegra Mostyn-Owen, was the preferred choice by half of those who took part, picking up double the number of votes of second-placed Theresa May, and way ahead of Worcestershire MP Sajid Javid on 13 per cent and Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne on 12 per cent.

But while there may be a bandwagon behind Boris, the results make grim reading for Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn – who was rated as "unelectable" by nearly eight out of 10 Star readers.

Mr Cameron, too, comes in for severe criticism, with just four per cent believing his recent negotiations with EU leaders resulted in a good deal for the UK. By contrast, more than seven in 10 of those taking part said he had failed to get a fair deal for Britain.

When asked who was the most impressive of the current party leaders, Ukip's Nigel Farage was the clear winner, taking 50 per cent of the vote. Just under a third thought Mr Cameron was doing the best job, and Mr Corbyn came third on 13 per cent. Liberal Democrat Tim Farron came last, with just one in 20 Star readers thinking he was doing the best job.

The numbers need to be treated with a degree of caution. More than 2,000 people took part in the survey. Ukip mobilised its supporters and 48 per cent of those who took part in the poll identified themselves as Ukip voters, with 30 per cent backing the Conservatives and just 15 per cent supporting Labour.

The strong Ukip showing is evident in the attitudes towards the EU of those who took part, with six in 10 calling for Britain to close its borders to economic migrants coming to work in the UK, and 65 per cent saying they believed Europe was bad for Britain.

More than six in 10 objected to plans to house Syrian refugees in Shropshire, although eight per cent said they actually wanted to see more.

When it comes to local government cuts, the blame is pretty evenly spread, with 35 per cent blaming the previous Labour government for over-spending, 34 per cent blaming the present Tory administration for austerity measures, and 31 per cent blaming the councils themselves.

It seems many people have money worries, too, with more than half of those who took part said they had strong concerns about their family's financial future, with four per saying they were under imminent financial threat.

Commenting on Mr Corbyn's poll rating during a visit to Telford, Labour's shadow home secretary Andy Burnham – who stood against Mr Corbyn for the party leadership – said the party was recovering after a difficult period.

This was particularly the case in Telford, he said, where the Conservatives last year won the traditionally Labour seat for the first time in history.

"We have been having an internal debate through the leadership election, we are now really now starting to get going," he said. "There is work to bring back to Labour voters who have left us.

"So I would say we had to reflect after the general election but Labour is coming back and coming back strong."

Mr Burnham added that he was proud to serve in Mr Corbyn's shadow cabinet, and would always serve the Labour Party in any way he could.

"I think he has changed things, he has changed the tone in British politics, he has brought forward some new ideas, he really is talking about a different way of doing things," Mr Burnham added. "Challenging austerity, which is destroying police and other public services but also making life really tough for people here in Telford.

"Yes, its going to take time to get that message through to people, but this is real change in politics and its healthy change."

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