Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is refusing to resign after losing a vote of no confidence among his MPs

 
Mark Sands
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Momentum Members Rally In Support Of Jeremy Corbyn
Thousands turned out for a demonstration in support of embattled Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn yesterday (Source: Getty)

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has refused to resign despite losing a vote of no confidence among his MPs as the party's crisis continues.

MPs have been rebelling against Corbyn since Sunday, and almost 50 have since resigned from shadow cabinet, front bench, and aide roles.

The vote reportedly saw 172 of Labour's MPs declare no confidence in Corbyn, with 40 lending the leader their support, putting the rebels at just over 80 per cent of those voting.

It also means that the Labour leader's supporters equate to just under half the 81 MPs, excluding whips, who previously sat on his front bench.

Corbyn said in a statement: “In the aftermath of last week’s referendum, our country faces major challenges. Risks to the economy and living standards are growing. The public is divided.

“Last month, Labour become the largest party in the local elections. In Thursday’s referendum, a narrow majority voted to leave, but two thirds of Labour supporters backed our call for a remain vote.

“I was democratically elected leader of our party for a new kind of politics by 60 per cent of Labour members and supporters, and I will not betray them by resigning. Today’s vote by MPs has no constitutional legitimacy.

“We are a democratic party, with a clear constitution. Our people need Labour party members, trade unionists and MPs to unite behind my leadership at a critical time for our country.”

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The vote is largely symbolic - if Labour MPs want to launch a leadership challenge, then 51 MPs and MEPs must write to Labour general secretary Iain McNicol.

Deputy leader Tom Watson and former shadow business secretary Angela Eagle are among the favourites to take on Corbyn if a leadership challenge goes ahead.

In 2003 Iain Duncan Smith resigned the Tory leadership after he lost a no confidence vote by 90 votes to 75.

However, Corbyn could ignore today's result as the votes have do not get a mention in the Labour rulebook, unlike Conservative party rules under which Duncan Smith was obliged.

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