Keir Starmer is current favourite to win Labour leadership race

PUBLISHED: 08:53 02 January 2020 | UPDATED: 08:53 02 January 2020

Sir Keir Starmer is the clear front-runner for the Labour leadership contest, according to a YouGov survey. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire/PA Images

Sir Keir Starmer is the clear front-runner for the Labour leadership contest, according to a YouGov survey. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire/PA Images

PA Wire/PA Images

A new poll has found that Sir Keir Starmer is the clear front-runner to take over from Jeremy Corbyn at Labour's leader.

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The shadow Brexit secretary would be on course to win the leadership contest, a YouGov survey reported in the Guardian has found.

Sir Keir, who has not yet officially launched a campaign, was reported to be set to beat his nearest rival Rebecca Long-Bailey 61% to 39% in a run off.

But Brexit could have an impact on the result, as Long-Bailey is rated first choice by 19% of Labour members who voted Remain, but scores 31% of those who voted Leave.

Sir Keir is backed as first choice by 34% of Remainers in the survey, but only supported by 17% of Leavers.

Corbyn loyalist Long-Bailey said earlier this week she was "considering" a run in an opinion piece for the Guardian, while Starmer began to set out his vision for the party at a community event.

WATCH: Labour was 'right' to take 'radical' position on austerity, says Keir Starmer

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The election process will be launched next week, with the new leader taking over in March following Labour's worst election performance since 1935, under Jeremy Corbyn.

The third most popular choice among those surveyed was Birmingham Yardley MP Jess Phillips, who has also not said whether she will stand.

She has hinted at a run for leader by tweeting "watch this space".

MORE: Jess Phillips fuels rumours of 2020 Labour leadership run with not-so-cryptic tweet

Prof Tim Bale of Queen Mary University of London, who jointly ran the poll with the University of Sussex, told the Guardian: "This is not shaping up to be a 2015-style Labour leadership contest.

"Unless potential candidates drop out before the start of voting, it may take a few rounds to decide the winner this time around.

"But it doesn't look at the moment as if the winner will come from the left of the party.

"Right now anyway, Keir Starmer looks to be heading for a fairly emphatic victory."

At present only shadow foreign secretary, Emily Thornberry, and the shadow treasury minister, Clive Lewis, have formally announced they will stand for the party leadership.

Wigan MP Lisa Nandy, party chairman Ian Lavery, and Commons Home Affairs Committee chairwoman Yvette Cooper are also believed to be considering entering the contest.

The poll of 1,059 Labour party members put Sir Keir on 31% for first choice votes, 20% backed Long-Bailey, Phillips received 11%, while Lewis and Cooper each polled 7%.

Emily Thornberry was on 6% and Nandy was backed by 5% as first choice.

With less popular candidates eliminated, a final run-off would see Sir Keir beat Long-Bailey in the last round, according to the survey.

The survey was commissioned from YouGov by the Party Members Project, which is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.

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