The Sky News host questioned the Shadow Home Secretary over Sir Keir Starmer’s polling success against his predecessors among Labour voters, arguing the defeat of the Labour Party at the December general election lied with Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership. She asked: “We’ve seen a pretty extraordinary turn around in Labour’s polling. One poll this week saying it is just five points behind the Conservatives.
“The gap was 22 points in mid-March.
“Keir Starmer with the highest rating of any opposition leader since Tony Blair.
“Does that make you think maybe Jeremy Corbyn was the problem all along?”
The Labour MP refused to engage in “party politics” claiming this is a time for parties and politicians to find common grounds in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
He said: “It makes me think about the present, Sophy, not the past.
“What we’re seeing here is a vindication of the approach that Keir Starmer is taking as leader of the Labour Party. But the reality is that at the moment party politics is not a priority.”
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It comes as a study found Sir Keir Starmer is the most popular leader of the Opposition since Tony Blair in the mid-1990s.
The survey conducted by Ipsos Mori revealed that, two months into his post, the new Labour leader is matching the performance of Mr Blair who went on to become a triple general election winner for the party.
But whilst Sir Keir’s satisfaction rating is encouraging for Labour, Boris Johnson is still narrowly seen as a more capable leader and the Conservatives in general maintain a slight lead over the Opposition party.
Mr Johnson wins the run-off between him and Sir Keir by 43 percent to 38.
The poll does, however, show that the gap between the parties has narrowed, with the Conservatives on 43 percent (down nine points since March), Labour on 38 (up eight) and the Liberal Democrats on 10 (up one).
In the study of 1,059 adults conducted between June 5 and June 10, Sir Keir’s net satisfaction score is 31%, matching the best score achieved by Mr Blair in December 1994.
Meanwhile, the study suggests that the public remain unsure over how well the Government has handled the coronavirus crisis, with 40% of those polled thinking it has gone well, and 44 percent believing the situation has been managed badly.
Similarly, 48 percent are satisfied with the way Mr Johnson is doing his job, whilst 49% are dissatisfied.
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Commenting on the research, Gideon Skinner, head of political research at Ipsos Mori, said: “Labour will of course be encouraged that Keir Starmer is achieving comparable leader satisfaction ratings to Tony Blair and David Cameron when they led the opposition, as both went on to become general election winners.
“However this is still very early days – it’s not unusual to see a honeymoon period for a new leader.
“And there is an important difference, Boris Johnson is still more popular than John Major and Gordon Brown were when Blair and Cameron achieved their best scores.
“With concerns about the economy and the coronavirus high, how the two leaders handle these over the next few months will be crucial.”