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Left-wing wild card leaps ahead in UK opposition race: Poll

A left-wing lawmaker who entered the leadership race of Britain`s opposition Labour party as a wild card may be on course to win with a commanding lead, a poll showed late Monday.



London: A left-wing lawmaker who entered the leadership race of Britain`s opposition Labour party as a wild card may be on course to win with a commanding lead, a poll showed late Monday.

Support for Jeremy Corbyn, 66, a veteran socialist and anti-nuclear campaigner, has increased to give him the backing of over half of those eligible to vote in the contest, according to the poll by YouGov.

"I would personally be astonished if Corbyn does not end up as Labour`s leader," wrote YouGov president Peter Kellner, while acknowledging the race could change before voting ends in a month`s time.

The poll of 1,411 eligible voters showed Corbyn with 53 percent support, far ahead of his nearest rival, Andy Burnham on 21 percent -- a drop of five points.

Seen as the most left-wing of the four candidates, Corbyn`s increasing popularity comes despite a series of stark warnings from senior Labour figures that he could damage the party`s chances of beating the ruling centre-right Conservative party in future elections.

Former Labour prime minister Tony Blair warned it would be impossible to win an election from a "traditional leftist platform", while his ex-communications chief Alastair Campbell said a Corbyn victory would be a "car crash" and urged supporters to vote for "anyone but Corbyn".

Bookmakers initially rated the bearded Corbyn as the least likely to win but he is now their frontrunner, after filling speaking venues across England with his platform of restoring public control of railways and utilities and ending austerity.

Voting begins on Friday, and the result will be announced on September 12.

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