Keir Starmer has been predicted to win the Labour leadership contest in the first round with more than 50% of the vote, according to a poll by YouGov and Sky News.
The frontrunner’s campaign was given a boost by the poll, which is the first to sample trade unionists and registered supporters as well as party members. It showed Starmer receiving 53% of the vote, ahead of Rebecca Long-Bailey on 31% and Lisa Nandy on 16%.
The poll of 1,323 people eligible to vote in the contest suggested the shadow Brexit secretary would win among men and women, among Labour members of all age ranges, social grades and in all parts of the country.
Long-Bailey was ahead among those who voted for Brexit, while Starmer had the lead among those who voted remain. Starmer’s campaign declined to comment on the results.
The Labour frontrunner, interviewed by Robert Peston on his Wednesday night ITV show, denied the prime minister’s force of personality was a key part of the Tory victory, saying: “No. We made him look good. I think I went to 44 constituencies with campaign teams in the general election – nobody reported back to me the people were saying ‘Boris Johnson’s great, he’s just what we want’.
“What they were saying was we want change, desperately want change, but we don’t trust your party.”
Starmer was also buoyed on Wednesday by the backing of Sadiq Khan, the Labour mayor of London.
Khan, who was the MP for Tooting before entering City Hall, said: “I will be voting for Keir Starmer to be the next Labour leader. I’ve known Keir for decades. He’s the best person to unite our party, take the fight to the Tories and put Labour in government.”
Starmer said he was “honoured” to have received Khan’s backing. “Sadiq is demonstrating that Labour in power can change lives. I look forward to campaigning alongside him to keep London Labour.”
Members and party supporters have begun voting in the contest, with batches of ballot papers being sent out by email and post. They will also select a new deputy leader from Angela Rayner, Dawn Butler, Ian Murray, Rosena Allin-Khan and Richard Burgon.
Rayner was way ahead in the YouGov/Sky News poll with 47% of the vote, suggesting she would win in the second round. It showed Burgon in second place on 19%, Allin-Khan on 13%, Butler on 12% and Murray on 9%.
With the votes of the candidate with the lowest support, Murray, redistributed, Rayner would win in the second round with 52% of the vote.
The winners are due to be named on 4 April and will take up their roles immediately.