A new poll by Survation for the Labour Muslim Network has revealed a sharp drop in Muslim support for the Labour Party since Keir Starmer became leader.
British Muslims have traditionally been among Labour’s most loyal supporters, but the survey shows that Labour’s favourability ratings have dropped by 12% in the last year and only 22% of British Muslims view the Labour leader favourably.
The sharp downturn in support for Labour came after the departure of Jeremy Corbyn who mobilised huge support among British Muslims. Since becoming leader Keir Starmer has moved the party towards the right, declaring support for Israel and India.
The poll was conducted by Survation between May 20 and June 4. Data was weighted to the profile of all Muslim adults in Great Britain aged 18 or over with a sample size of 504.
The results also showed that:
- 72% of Muslims still identify with Labour.
- 53% of Muslims voted for Labour in the recent local elections.
- 29% of Muslims think unfavourably about Keir Starmer.
- 19% of Muslims feel unfavourably about Labour.
The Labour Muslim network said: “For decades the Muslim community have been amongst the most loyal Labour supporters seen anywhere in the United Kingdom. The findings of this opinion poll show the beginning of a fracturing of this relationship. This should be of deep concern for us all in the Labour Party. Muslim voters are sending us a clear message – our votes and support should not be taken for granted and must be earned.
“Winning back the trust of those whom we have lost and strengthening our bond with our existing supporters must begin urgently. This can only be done through a serious commitment by the leaders throughout our party and movement.
“Everyone at the Labour Muslim Network is desperate to see Labour win again – but to do so we must understand the serious concerns amongst some of our most loyal voters.”
The findings may well set alarm bells ringing in Labour ahead of the Batley and Spen by-election on July 1. Labour is trying to hold onto the seat which has a large Muslim constituency.
George Galloway is standing in the constituency with the explicit aim of making a Labour loss more likely and of damaging Starmer. He has predicted that it would be “curtains” for the leader if his party is defeated.
Momentum’s Mish Rahman, who sits on Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee, said the polling “reflects a disastrous failure of Starmer’s leadership to represent millions of Muslim voters, who are a key bedrock of Labour’s support”.
He added: “I was canvassing in Batley and Spen this weekend, and over and over again voters wanted to talk to me about Palestine. They were justifiably angry at the Labour leadership’s failure to take a clear moral and practical stance in support of the Palestinian people.”
A Labour spokesperson said: “The Labour Party is committed to a strong relationship with the Muslim community, and in our pursuit of building a better, fairer, more secure future for all, we will continue to robustly stand up for the rights of Muslims everywhere.”