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    The leader of Britain's opposition Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, speaks at the Scottish Labour Party Spring Conference in Perth, Scotland February 26, 2017.

    UK Labour Party Donor Exodus as Stephen Hawking Calls Corbyn a 'Disaster'

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    Some of the British Labour Party's top donors have withheld funds from the organization under the leadership of left-winger Jeremy Corbyn, who has been accused of being a "disaster" by top physicist and Labour supporter Professor Stephen Hawking.

    Some of Labour's biggest backers over the years have stopped giving money to the party since Jeremy Corbyn took over the leadership in 2015, in a sign that the party is deeply divided and is not electable under him.

    Among Labour's top donors, John Mills, chairman of the consumer products giant JML, gave a donation of US$1.95 million when the party was led by Ed Miliband's leadership, but has not given the main party any extra funding since. 

    Hedge fund manager Martin Taylor donated nearly US$732,000 to Labour over a period of years, but has reduced his contribution now to just US$195,000 under Corbyn.

    ​Labour's top individual donors gave a total of US$8.5 million between 2010 and 2015, when Miliband failed to win the election, paving the way for a leadership race, which was won — to the surprise of many — by Corbyn. However, since he took over, those donations have dwindled to just US$366,000.

    Stephen Hawking
    © AFP 2017/ NIKLAS HALLE'N /
    "I regard Corbyn as a disaster. His heart is in the right place and many of his policies are sound, but he has allowed himself to be portrayed as a left-wing extremist. I think he should step down for the sake of the party," top physicist Professor Stephen Hawking told the London Times newspaper.

    Membership Diving

    It emerged on March 3, that Labour has lost nearly 26,000 members since last summer. The number of resignations in 2016 was more than the total of the previous six years combined. Labour's membership has dropped from 554,000 in July 2016 to 528,180 in February 2017.

    ​In February, Labour lost the parliamentary seat of Copeland, in north west England, which it had held since 1935, marking a new low for the party. For the Conservatives to have won Copeland after having been in Labour hands for 80 years is a clear sign of the disarray within the Labour Party — its grassroots membership, its disparate splinter groups and the parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) under Corbyn.

    The latest ComRes poll shows that just a third (32 percent of Labour voters think Corbyn is the right person to lead the party into the 2020 general election. However, the story is worse when the voting intentions of non-Labour voters — those the party needs to win over — are taken into account.

    Seventy-seven percent believe the party doesn't have the right leader, 73 percent think it doesn't have the right policies and 71 percent think it has lost touch with the working classes.

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    political donors, political party, socialist ideas, leftist politics, political activism, Brexit, British Labour Party, Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, Stephen Hawking, Britain, United Kingdom
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