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Voters ‘want backbencher PM over Corbyn’

THE public would rather have a backbench MP as a temporary prime minister than Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, a poll for Metro finds.

Voters would be less opposed to candidates such as ex-Tory MP Ken Clarke (above) or Labour’s Margaret Beckett heading a so-called ‘government of national unity’ than the Labour leader, according to the Public First poll of 1,000 adults.

The pollsters gave respondents a list of names and asked who they believed should not be considered.

Forty five per cent chose the Labour leader, compared with 33 per cent for Commons speaker John Bercow and 26 per cent for ex-home secretary Amber Rudd. Almost a quarter picked shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer and 21 per cent went for Ken Clarke, who was among 21 MPs thrown out of the Conservatives last month for voting against Boris Johnson. Another 21 per cent said they didn’t know.

The findings come amid talks between opposition parties on a plan to topple Mr Johnson with a vote of no confidence. An interim prime minister would then ask Brussels for an extension to Article 50 and stopping a no-deal Brexit on October 31.

The SNP has reportedly said it was willing for Mr Corbyn to take over on a short-term basis to stop the UK ‘crashing out’ of the EU, but the Liberal Democrats and some former Tory MPs want someone else.

The poll also found almost half of those quizzed still wanted Brexit to happen on October 31, compared with 39 per cent who said they were opposed. A further 13 per cent said they didn’t know. But only 36 per cent of those asked said they believed it would take place on Halloween. The view of politicians in general appears to be scathing with just seven per cent agreeing all MPs had ‘tried their best’.

When given a list of words to describe Mr Corbyn, 32 per cent chose ‘unelectable’, while 25 per cent said ‘scruffy’. A further 13 per cent chose the word ‘honest’, while 14 per cent described him as ‘principled’.

Public First’s Gabriel Milland said: ‘These figures show how unpopular Jeremy Corbyn is. Remainers should think twice about installing such an unpopular leader at the head of a government that will effectively be representing their cause in Britain and on the world stage.’ Labour said: ‘We don’t comment on polls.’