Jeremy Corbyn aide quits ahead of two crucial by-elections over Labour's lack of direction

Jeremy Corbyn, Labour leader
Jeremy Corbyn, Labour leader

One of Jeremy Corbyn's closest allies is allegedly quitting ahead of two crucial by-elections amid concern about Labour's lack of direction.

Simon Fletcher, Mr Corbyn's campaigns chief, is reportedly leaving the party after a series of dire polls suggested that the Conservatives have taken a record lead over labour. 

The Evening Standard said that Mr Fletcher had grown increasingly concerned that early hopes of a breakthrough for the party under Mr Corbyn had disintegrated.

Michael Foot had better ratings than Jeremy Corbyn at the same stage in his leadership Credit:  Malcolm Gilson/Rex Features

It comes after a poll yesterday suggested that Mr Corbyn's personal rating is not lower than that of Michael Foot at a similar point under his leadership.

The party is struggling to hold on to two Northern Labour seats - Stoke-on-Trent and Copeland - as it faces bitter battles against Ukip and the Conservative.

The party has also been divided by bitter in-fighting over Brexit which saw a series of high-profile resignations from the shadow cabinet. 

Official Labour sources said that Mr Fletcher, who was previously Mr Corbyn’s chief-of-staff, wanted to focus on other projects.

According to a survey by Ipsos Mori, Mr Corbyn now has a net rating of minus 38, lower than that of Mr Foot after he had been Labour leader for 17 months.

Just 24 per cent of voters told the pollster they are satisfied with Mr Corbyn's performance, down two points on a month ago.

Of those surveyed 62 per cent said that they are dissatisfied with Mr Corbyn, leaving him with a net rating of minus 38.

Mr Foot led Labour to a catastrophic election defeat in 1983 and is considered to be the party’s worst ever leader.

According to the poll for the Evening Standard newspaper, 53 per cent of adults said that they are satisfied with Mrs May’s performance, up eight points from January.

Just over a third said that they are dissatisfied with the Prime Minister’s performance, giving her a net rating of plus 17.