Labour is “on our way back”, the shadow chancellor has claimed, after new polling suggested Sir Keir Starmer would make a worse prime minister than Boris Johnson.
In the Opinium survey, published in The Observer, 28% of those who took part thought Mr Johnson would make the better prime minister, while 26% opted for Sir Keir.
But Rachel Reeves suggested the Labour leader had turned around the party’s fortunes in a short space of time following the “catastrophic” defeat of the 2019 general election.
She also said there was “nothing to see here” when asked if the shadow cabinet was preparing for a potential leadership challenge.
Ms Reeves told Times Radio that Labour was “now the only political party that controls councils in Scotland, Wales and England” following the local elections.
She added: “We are a party that is on our way back after that catastrophic defeat.
“We have got a couple of by-elections coming up in less that two weeks’ time in Wakefield and in Tiverton and Honiton, that is also an opportunity for voters to give their verdict on Labour’s offer and also their verdict on how Boris Johnson and the Conservatives are getting on at the moment.”
Asked where Labour’s big policies are, Ms Reeves said: “If two years ago someone had said Labour might be back in office within one term after that catastrophic defeat, I think most people would have just said you are crazy.
“But that is now a very real possibility.”
She added that Sir Keir had turned around a party “riven by antisemitism”.
In May, Sir Keir promised to step down if he is fined for breaking Covid laws as a result of a campaign event which took place last April in Durham.
At the time a ban on indoor mixing between different households was in place, though some Covid restrictions had been eased.
If the Labour leader were fined and stood down, the decision would trigger a leadership election within the party.
Asked by Sky News’ Sophy Ridge On Sunday if she would stand in a leadership contest, Rachel Reeves said: “There is nothing to see here.
“There is no leadership contest.
“The point about Keir saying that he would resign if he was fined was to show the contrast really between Keir Starmer, a man of honesty, integrity and decency, who wants to restore those values of trust and decency to politics and public life, compared to a rule-breaking Prime Minister who has no respect for the ministerial code, for the conduct of politics.
“That is why I am so proud to stand here as a member of Keir Starmer’s shadow cabinet and why I am so desperate to get rid of this Prime Minister.”