Revealed: voters mostly unfazed by Starmer’s Diane Abbott row

Attempts to ditch Diane Abbott caused fury in the Labour Party  (Getty)
Attempts to ditch Diane Abbott caused fury in the Labour Party (Getty)

Exclusive polling for the Independent can reveal that last week’s Diane Abbott-Labour row made “no difference” for 82 per cent of voters — in fact, it might have boosted Labour’s chances.

Tensions erupted in the Labour Party when the Times reported that Ms Abbott would be banned from standing for the party, following an investigation into comments she made on racism and anti-semitism.

Party leader Sir Keir Starmer was repeatedly evasive on whether Ms Abbott would be able to stand as a Labour candidate in her constituency of Hackney North and Stoke Newington.

After deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner spoke out in support of Ms Abbott on Sky News, Sir Keir finally said she would be “free to go forward as a Labour candidate”.

Amidst the turmoil, hundreds of people had gathered at Hackney Town Hall to “stand with Diane”, while some voters expressed anger at Labour’s treatment of Ms Abbott.

But despite concerns over shedding the Labour vote, exclusive polling data shows that 8 in 10 voters were largely unmoved by the Abbott-Starmer row, and would not be changing their voting choices.

In fact, 6 per cent of voters said that Sir Keir’s handling of the issue made them more likely to vote Labour. Meanwhile, 3 per cent were more likely to vote Conservative than before, and 4 per cent were less likely to vote at all.

Among 2019 Labour voters, the row appeared to have a more divisive affect; 10 per cent were even more likely to vote Labour, but a further 10 per cent were more likely to abstain from voting.

All this is reflected in the choice of candidates, with a view to not straying too far from this equidistance which currently represents the compass of the Labour Party.

Techne UK chief executive Michela Morizzo said: “Enough time has now passed since the Diane Abbott candidate selection row for me to be sure that whilst the issue attracted a lot of media attention the overall outcome has been not to affect Labour vote share in the polls.

“The support for Starmer comes partly from the Conservatives because of the mistakes that the Conservatives themselves have made.

“Starmer has to manage a very varied audience of voters at the moment and it is difficult to identify their precise characteristics.

“Until July 4th he must find a balance to maintain this success by making everyone happy. Let's remember that it is easier to maintain left-wing votes by moving a little to the center than vice versa, because left-wing voters have no alternatives while right-wing voters have several, starting with the Lib Dems.”

The latest Techne polls also show hardly any impact on Labour’s lead since questions arose over whether Ms Abbott could run for Labour in late May.

Labour is currently polling at 44 per cent of national vote share, with a stable 24-point lead over the Conservatives. Both parties lost one point in the polls this week.