Labour election victory 'unthinkable'

Fabian Society warns MP numbers could drop to 150 unless it allies with other parties

Jeremy Corbyn
(Image credit: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Labour must form alliances with minority parties or prepare to shed dozens of MPs, a leading think-tank has warned.

Analysis from the left-leaning Fabian Society, using historical polling data and trend analysis, concludes Jeremy Corbyn's party currently "has virtually no chance of winning outright in the next election", The Guardian reports.

In the worst-case scenario, Labour could win less than 20 per cent of the vote in the next general election, meaning its total number of MPs could sink from 231 to 150 or fewer.

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The "damning assessment" comes after a YouGov poll for The Times put support for the party at 24 per cent, the "lowest since Michael Foot was leader in 1983", says Sky News.

In its report, entitled "Stuck: how Labour is too weak to win and too strong to die", the Fabian Society says Brexit has exposed the party's weaknesses, as large segments of its traditional working-class voter base broke away to vote in favour of leaving the EU.

"The Conservatives and Lib Dems are both advancing by attracting new support from one side only," the report adds, while Labour faces the impossible task of trying to appeal to both factions.

The party is also being hit by the rising tide of right-wing populism, struggling with dwindling support in Scotland, where it now has only one MP, and a leader who is openly disavowed by many of his own MPs.

Although popular with grassroots supporters, polling suggests Corbyn has failed to convince the general public, while the prolonged in-fighting around his election as leader has worsened the party's image problem.

The study suggests Labour must prepare for "an age of quasi-federal, multi-party politics" and that alliances with smaller parties such as the Liberal Democrats and the SNP are the only feasible way to achieve an outright majority.

A spokeswoman for Corbyn acknowledged "rebuilding Labour support after its fragmentation at the 2015 election was always going to be a challenge", but insisted the party was up to the job.

"Labour under Jeremy Corbyn will be taking its case to every part of Britain in the coming months with a radical policy platform, offering the only genuine alternative to a failed parliament political establishment and the fake anti-elitists of the hard right," she said.

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