298 passengers and crew died in Thursday's crash. Photo: Getty.
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The MH17 crash has hardened public opinion towards Russia

Last Thursday's MH17 crash has changed perceptions of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. Most voters now think the issue is a matter for the West, and support three specific policies.

The British public has hardened its attitude towards Russia in the wake of the MH17 crash.

YouGov polling conducted last weekend has shown that nearly two-thirds of voters now think the Russia-Ukrainian conflict is something that should concern Britain and the West.

When asked the question in mid-March, fewer than half thought the issue was a matter for the UK.

How should the matter concern us? Three actions now have the support of at least 50 per cent of voters.

• Imposing trade sanctions on Russia

• Freezing Russian assets in Western banks

• Expelling Russia from the G8

More voters voiced support than didn't for the first two policies in March, but a majority now do after the crash.

However the biggest change in public opinion has been for expelling Russia from the G8.

There was more opposition than support for the idea in March, but now 50 per cent support the policy, while just 20 per cent oppose it (for the number-counters, 30 per cent expressed no decisive opinion).

Harry Lambert was the editor of May2015, the New Statesman's election website.

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Will Jeremy Corbyn stand down if Labour loses the general election?

Defeat at the polls might not be the end of Corbyn’s leadership.

The latest polls suggest that Labour is headed for heavy defeat in the June general election. Usually a general election loss would be the trigger for a leader to quit: Michael Foot, Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband all stood down after their first defeat, although Neil Kinnock saw out two losses before resigning in 1992.

It’s possible, if unlikely, that Corbyn could become prime minister. If that prospect doesn’t materialise, however, the question is: will Corbyn follow the majority of his predecessors and resign, or will he hang on in office?

Will Corbyn stand down? The rules

There is no formal process for the parliamentary Labour party to oust its leader, as it discovered in the 2016 leadership challenge. Even after a majority of his MPs had voted no confidence in him, Corbyn stayed on, ultimately winning his second leadership contest after it was decided that the current leader should be automatically included on the ballot.

This year’s conference will vote on to reform the leadership selection process that would make it easier for a left-wing candidate to get on the ballot (nicknamed the “McDonnell amendment” by centrists): Corbyn could be waiting for this motion to pass before he resigns.

Will Corbyn stand down? The membership

Corbyn’s support in the membership is still strong. Without an equally compelling candidate to put before the party, Corbyn’s opponents in the PLP are unlikely to initiate another leadership battle they’re likely to lose.

That said, a general election loss could change that. Polling from March suggests that half of Labour members wanted Corbyn to stand down either immediately or before the general election.

Will Corbyn stand down? The rumours

Sources close to Corbyn have said that he might not stand down, even if he leads Labour to a crushing defeat this June. They mention Kinnock’s survival after the 1987 general election as a precedent (although at the 1987 election, Labour did gain seats).

Will Corbyn stand down? The verdict

Given his struggles to manage his own MPs and the example of other leaders, it would be remarkable if Corbyn did not stand down should Labour lose the general election. However, staying on after a vote of no-confidence in 2016 was also remarkable, and the mooted changes to the leadership election process give him a reason to hold on until September in order to secure a left-wing succession.

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