Rebecca Long-Bailey has emerged as the new favourite in the Labour leadership race, according to a new poll.

The shadow business secretary appears to have clawed back ground on Sir Keir Starmer, who has long been considered as the frontrunner in the battle for the crown.

Ms Long-Bailey would win 42 per cent of first preference votes to the shadow Brexit secretary's 37 per cent, the latest poll from Survation on Wednesday night showed.

The pollsters asked readers of Labour List for their preferences and then weighted the results to reflect the membership.

Its latest figures indicate that the five-candidate contest is wide open, with Ms Long-Bailey looking most popular with signed-up members.

She is backed by senior figures on the left of the party, including shadow chancellor John McDonnell,

The Salford and Eccles MP had come a long way second to Sir Keir in the round of nominations by MPs and MEPs, picking up 33 supporters to the Brexit spokesman's 88. Long-Bailey says it was hard for the party to have a united Brexit policy during the election

But the contest will be decided by the members, whose number bolstered to around 500,000 under Jeremy Corbyn's radical left-wing leadership.

According to the Survation results, Jess Phillips would get 9 per cent of first preferences, Lisa Nandy 7 per cent and shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry just 1 per cent.

The final ballot is carried out using a preferential system, with members able to order the candidates in a list from one to five.

If no candidate wins 50 per cent of the vote during the first round of counting, the last place contender is eliminated and their second preference votes are re-distributed.

This process goes on until one of the candidates secures a majority.

Sir Keir, who has pitched his campaign to the left, would pick up a high proportion of second preference votes from his rivals Ms Phillips and Ms Nandy if they go out – 60 per cent and 63 per cent respectively - but it would not be enough to beat Ms Long-Bailey even after they are taken into account, according to the poll results.

The former former director of public prosecutions at the Crown Prosecution Service would lose to his rival 51 per cent to 49 per cent, based on current standings.

The caveat for Ms Long-Bailey's critics is that more than a third of those surveyed said they had not decided who they would vote for in the leadership bout.

Only 22 per cent said they were sure they would not change their mind in the remaining 11 weeks of the contest.

Candidates are due to start sparring during party-organised leadership hustings held across the UK, with the first scheduled for Saturday in Liverpool.