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Left-winger Jeremy Corbyn is on track to lead Labour party

By James Tapsfield

Left-winger Jeremy Corbyn is on track to top the ballot in the Labour leadership contest, according to a poll. Research by YouGov for The Times has found the backbench MP is the first preference for 43% of party supporters - way ahead of bookies' favourite Andy Burnham on 26%.

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper was on 20% and Liz Kendall just 11%.

The study also forecast that after Ms Kendall and Mrs Cooper had been eliminated and second preferences redistributed under the Alternative Vote system, Mr Corbyn would beat Mr Burnham 53% to 47% in the final round.

The results, which are likely to fuel a growing sense of panic in Labour's Blairite wing, emerged after Mr Corbyn burnished his credentials with the Left by defying acting leader Harriet Harman to vote against the Government's Welfare Bill.

The other leadership candidates fell into line by backing the Opposition's "reasoned amendment" to the legislation - which was defeated.

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