Only 45% of Labour voters back Jeremy Corbyn as the best leader for the UK, poll finds

Fewer than half of Labour voters think that Jeremy Corbyn would be a better Prime Minister than Theresa May, according to a new opinion poll.

Just 45% of the party's supporters backed Mr Corbyn when asked to pick in a head-to-head with Conservative leader Mrs May, found the new Opinium survey for the The Observer.

His support dropped to just 14% across voters for all parties in the poll, while Mrs May received approval from 47% of those polled.

The findings will add to pressure on Mr Corbyn, with critics saying he should step aside after persistently drawing low approval ratings.

He is facing renewed attacks on his leadership ahead of next month's local elections after Labour lost a Middlesbrough council seat to the Tories in recent days on a by-election swing of 8%.

Tom Blenkinsop, the Labour MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland and a strong critic of Mr Corbyn, said the leader had to take a large share of responsibility for the loss.

Mr Corbyn has reacted angrily to questions over his leadership. Credit: PA

The Observer poll of 2,002 UK adults found that Health and Brexit remained the most important issues among voters, but terrorism climbed from fifth to third place in the aftermath of the attack at Westminster.

When asked which party was most trusted to lead Brexit negotiations, 35% backed the Conservatives, while Labour had a rating of 12%, it found.

Labour enjoys an eight-point lead over the Tories when it comes to the NHS, with approval ratings of 28% on the issue.

But Mr Corbyn's party was named by just 7% as having the best policies on immigration - the fourth most important issue to those questioned.

The survey did have some bright news for Labour, with results suggesting that the Conservative lead in the polls had declined to nine points.

However, a separate ComRes poll for the Independent and Sunday Mirror shows the Conservatives pushing 21% ahead of Mr Corbyn's party.