Sadiq Khan is Labour's best bet for leader, new polling suggests

Written by David Singleton on 23 February 2017 in Diary

For most Labour politicians, being well-known also means being disliked.

At the 2016 Labour conference, Sadiq Khan used his keynote speech to repeatedly hammer home the message that the party can only achieve things if it is "in power".

Whatever could he have been thinking of?

Speaking to ITV News afterwards, Khan raised a few eyebrows in Team Corbyn by not quite denying that he was Labour’s saviour waiting in the wings.

Asked if he saw himself as a future Labour leader, the London Mayor replied: “I've got the best job in the world, why would I want to leave it?”

And now an interesting new poll suggests that Khan’s power trip might have been justified.

Not only is the former Tooting MP Labour’s most senior elected figure, he also appears to be the Labour politician most likely to be popular as a party leader.

YouGov tested Jeremy Corbyn and some of the bookies’ favourites to replace him across two measures: awareness and likeability.

For most Labour politicians, being well-known also correlated with being disliked – with Corbyn and Ed Miliband faring particularly badly.

Only a few Labour politicians managed to buck the trend somewhat. These included former Labour leadership contestants Andy Burnham and Hilary Benn. 

And performing best of all was Khan.



“On this evidence, the candidate who would make the greatest impact as leader might be Sadiq Khan,” said the YouGov analysis. “His election as Mayor of London has provided him a national media presence and in terms of likeability he outstrips almost everyone else.”

Of course Khan is highly unlikely to be back in the Commons in time for a pre-2020 leadership contest. Which potentially leaves the field open for a loyal Corbynite (Rebecca Long Bailey), someone else from the left (Clive Lewis or Angela Rayner) or a soft left candidate (Lisa Nandy). Or a moderate (Keir Starmer or Dan Jarvis).

The good news for all five of these figures is that they have avoided the overwhelmingly negative feelings that the plague many of their colleagues.

The no-so-great news is that hardly anybody has a clue who they are.



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