Only around a third (37%) of Labour councillors are satisfied with the party leadership’s position on the Israel-Palestine conflict, according to a new poll of Labour councillors from Savanta.
Two in five (43%) say that they are outright dissatisfied with the leadership’s position on the conflict, with the remainder saying that they are neither satisfied nor dissatisfied (18%) or don’t know (2%).
The poll also finds that one in six (17%) of Labour councillors have considered resigning their membership over the issue, including some (5%) that say they still haven’t made up their mind whether to remain a member or not.
The polling, of 618 Labour councillors over the last week, finds broad satisfaction with the party leadership on many issues, including their prospects of winning the next election (88%) and how they hold the government to account (72%).
However, less than half (47%) of Labour councillors are satisfied with the leadership’s position on Brexit, while even fewer (37%) are satisfied with their position on the Israel-Palestine conflict.
Two in five (43%) Labour councillors say that Keir Starmer’s handling of the Israel-Palestine conflict makes them feel more negatively about Labour, compared to 41% who say it makes no difference, and just 15% who say it makes them feel more positively.
And while half (50%) of Labour councillors say that they do understand why the leadership has not yet called for a ceasefire, 43% do not understand it.
Chris Hopkins, Political Research Director at Savanta said, “The first survey of Labour councillors on the Israel-Palestine conflict finds a fairly divided set of elected members, with fairly equal proportions saying their dissatisfied and satisfied with the leadership’s position on the issue, and fairly equal proprtions understanding and not understanding the reasons behind not calling for a ceasefire.”
“While there are plenty of Labour councillors right behind Starmer’s decision-making thus far, these results imply there is also a significant proportion who are not, putting the leadership in an awkward and uncomfortable position.
“Labour will be relying heavily on its base of councillors, integral to its ground campaign, at the next election, and with such a large proportion thinking more negatively towards the leadership over this issue could present a threat to Starmer’s standing among the membership at a crucial stage in the election cycle.”