Web Only: the best of the blogs

The five must-read blogs from today, on the coming Tory deal, Andy Burnham and former politicians.

1. Lib Dems should take the Tory deal

If the Lib Dems are ever to get proportional representation, they need to demonstrate that coalitions can work in practice, argues Mark Thompson. The Tories' offer provides them with their best chance to do so.

2. Andy Burnham opposes Lib-Lab coalition. Time to lock 'n' load?

Paul Waugh reports on Andy Burnham's remarkable decision to oppose a Lib-Lab coalition publicly and support David Blunkett's position.

3. Is Cameron offer of an AV referendum a cast-iron guarantee?

Remember David Cameron's "cast-iron guarantee" of a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty? Iain Martin wonders whether the sane guarantee applies to a referendum on electoral reform.

4. Alastair Campbell uncut

John Rentoul says that we can expect more Blair-Brown revelations as Campbell prepares the unexpurgated version of his diaries.

5. Why the media turn to former politicians in a crisis

At the Guardian, Jon Henley explains why we're seeing so much of Paddy Ashdown, David Steel, John Major et al.

Special offer: get 12 issues of the New Statesman for just £5.99 plus a free copy of "Liberty in the Age of Terror" by A C Grayling.

Jeremy Corbyn, Labour leader. Getty
Show Hide image

Will Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn become Prime Minister after the 2017 general election?

Can Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn win the 2017 general election? 

Jeremy Corbyn could be the next prime minister. Admittedly, it’s highly unlikely. After less than two years as Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn is leading the party into a snap general election. Labour behind in the latest general election polls and underperformed badly in the recent local elections. But since the election was called, Labour’s position in the polls has been improving. Can we trust the general election polls?

This isn’t the first vote of national significance since his election, however, since he was in office during the 2016 EU referendum. It’s also not Corbyn’s first serious challenge: after the Brexit vote, his MPs voted “no confidence” in him and Owen Smith challenged him for the leadership. Corbyn saw off that threat to his position convincingly, so can he pull out another electoral triumph and become prime minister? 

Can Jeremy Corbyn become prime minister after the general election 2017?

Do the polls predict a Labour victory?

Since May 2015, the Conservative Party has consistently led in the polls. The latest polls give Labour ratings in the mid 30s, while the Conservatives are on the mid-40s. Recent improvements in Labour’s standing still leave Jeremy Corbyn a long way from becoming prime minister.

But should we believe the general election polls? Glen O’Hara, professor of modern and contemporary history at Oxford Brookes University, points out that the polls have been wrong before, and could be overstating Labour’s collapse. However, a 20-point gap is far outside the margin of error. A Corbyn win would be an unprecedented upset.

What is Labour's record on elections?

At the 2016 local elections, Labour did not gain any councils and lost 18 seats and 4 per cent of the vote. James Schneider, the co-founder of Momentum who is now Corbyn’s head of strategic communications, said this showed Labour was on the right trajectory, but it’s a disappointment for an opposition to make no gains. And at the Copeland by-election this February, Labour lost the seat to the Tories – the first government gain in a by-election since 1982.

Can Jeremy Corbyn become prime minister? The verdict

Jeremy Corbyn’s path to power would be one of the greatest surprises in British politics. But unlikely doesn’t mean impossible. It would take some extraordinary events, but it could happen. Check out the latest odds to see how the markets rate his chances.

0800 7318496