13:56 GMT +318 August 2019
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    Britain's opposition Labour party Leader Jeremy Corbyn gives a thumbs up as he arrives at Labour Party headquarters in central London on June 9, 2017.

    Corbyn Overtakes May as Voters' Choice for Best Prime Minister, Poll Finds

    © AFP 2019 / Daniel Leal-Olivas
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    Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has overtaken Theresa May as a more popular choice for Prime Minister among the British public, according to a new poll. Mrs. May's ratings have been hit by the fallout from the Grenfell Tower debacle.

    A YouGov survey for The Times on Friday (June 23) found 35 percent of respondents thought the Labour leader would make a better leader than the Conservative Party's current leader.

    That compared with only 34 percent who believed the incumbent would do a better job.

    It marks a remarkable plunge in popularity for the former Home Secretary, who took over from David Cameron in 2016 after he fell on his sword following the Brexit referendum result.

    Although Mrs. May was a Remainer during the referendum campaign, she threw herself enthusiastically into the Brexit camp and went so far as to say "no deal was better than a bad deal."

    But her support for a "hard Brexit" was one of many positions she took during an inept general election campaign which showed how out of touch she was with the country.

    In April, she had a net favorability rating with YouGov of plus 10 but that plunged, after the release of the Conservative manifesto, to minus 5.

    A few days before the general election she had a popularity rating of 43 percent with YouGov, compared with 32 percent for Mr. Corbyn.

    But he has now overtaken her, with another 30 percent of voters unsure who would make the better prime minister.

    Mrs. May's popularity has been in free fall since the election, when she failed to get the majority in parliament that she needed to rule, and was forced to go with a begging bowl to the Democratic Unionist Party, from Northern Ireland.

    This is a July 25, 2016 file photo of of Arlene Foster, left, leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, with Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May, during a meeting in Belfast.
    © AP Photo / Charles McQuillan
    This is a July 25, 2016 file photo of of Arlene Foster, left, leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, with Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May, during a meeting in Belfast.

    Their 10 seats would give her a small majority but even that has been a struggle as negotiations with the DUP dragging on even after the Queen's Speech.

    Mrs. May has appeared weak, indecisive and even cowardly, when she refused to meet survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire at the weekend.

    Although the lion's share of the blame for the fire and its aftermath has gone to Conservative-controlled Kensington and Chelsea Council, the government has not escaped unscathed.

    Mrs. May and her ministers have repeatedly failed to explain why a fire safety review which was ordered after the 2009 Lakanal House tower block blaze in south London, which killed six people, had been put on the back burner.

    Ironically the man responsible for it, Gavin Barwell, the housing minister, lost his seat at the general election only to boomerang back when he was appointed at Mrs. May's senior aide after she fired her hapless advisers, Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill.

    ​Mrs. May's performance has been so bad that there has been speculation she will be replaced by the end of the summer.

    Friday's poll also asked voters for their views on Brexit.

    The number of people who felt that leaving the European Union was wrong  (45 percent) now outnumbered the number of people who still feel it is a good idea (44 percent).

    When asked to choose, 58 percent of voters preferred "British businesses having free access to trade with the EU, but Britain having to allow EU citizens the right to live and work in Britain" while 42 percent would rather "Britain having full control over immigration from Europe, but British businesses no longer having access to free trade with the EU."

    Brexit negotiations began on June 19 and 34 percent of voters in the YouGov poll trusted the Tories with the Brexit negotiations, compared with only 20 percent for Labour.

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    Tags:
    Brexit negotiations, leadership battle, public opinion, opinion poll, voters, Brexit, popularity, Grenfell Tower fire, UK General Election 2017, Queen's Speech, Labour Party, European Union, YouGov, Conservative Party, Jeremy Corbyn, Theresa May, United Kingdom, Britain, London
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