Labour crisis: Corbyn clings on to job after his top team launches coup

JEREMY CORBYN was clinging on to the Labour leadership last night despite a string of senior Yorkshire MPs urging him to step down.

Sunday, 26th June 2016, 8:17 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 8:46 pm
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn (right) and former Shadow foreign secretary Hilary Benn who he has sacked after he raised concerns about his leadership.

A series of shadow cabinet resignations and the dramatic sacking of Shadow Foreign Secretary and Leeds Central MP Hilary Benn left the party in turmoil yesterday.

Beleaguered Corbyn ‘unable to tackle working-class disillusion’Jayne Dowle: Boris Johnson, the comedy Prime Minister, would be beyond a jokeKeith Burnett: Why the voters believed lie on immigrationSturgeon warns against blocking voteCorbyn’s mandate is over, Yorkshire MP claimsThe possibility of a snap general election following the EU referendum result and the turmoil in the Conservative Party, combined with dismay at Mr Corbyn’s failure to campaign harder for a Remain vote, led to senior figures taking the decision to move against him.

Deputy leader Tom Watson is due to meet Mr Corbyn this morning before all of Labour’s 229 MPs are invited to discuss a vote of no confidence in the leader at what is likely to be a fractious meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) in Westminster.

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Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn (right) and former Shadow foreign secretary Hilary Benn who he has sacked after he raised concerns about his leadership.

A secret ballot on Mr Corbyn’s leadership is expected to begin tomorrow.

Former shadow energy secretary and Don Valley MP Caroline Flint said the ballot must remain secret despite a suggestion that those around Mr Corbyn will push for a show of hands.

She said: “There should be no arm twisting on this. A show of hands would be an indication of heavy handed, quite intimidating tactics, to put pressure on.

“How can we seriously win a General Election, with a new leader of the Tory Party going to be selected, and confidently think Jeremy Corbyn is the person to do that?”

Hilary Benn

The tumultuous day for Labour began with the overnight sacking of Mr Benn after he told Mr Corbyn he no longer had confidence in his leadership.

Mr Benn called for Mr Corbyn to stand down as the Labour leader faced open revolt in the wake of the EU referendum result and speculation over a snap general election.

Hours earlier, Mr Benn had told Mr Corbyn he no longer had confidence in his leadership and was promptly sacked.

He said: “At this absolutely critical time for this country following the referendum result the Labour Party needs strong and effective leadership to hold the Government to account as we take decisions of huge importance to the future of our country. We don’t currently have that.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn leaves his house in London. Corbyn is facing a full-scale revolt by his top team as a string of shadow ministers quit in protest at his leadership during the EU referendum campaign.

As resignations of Labour frontbenchers continued to be announced during the day, Shadow Home Secretary Andy Burnham’s refusal to join the revolt was one of the few pieces of positive news for Mr Corbyn.

However Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell insisted that the Labour leader was staying on. He told the BBC: “He was elected nine months ago, the biggest mandate of any political leader in our country, and he is not going anywhere.

“The people who are sovereign in our party are the members. It’s the members who elected Jeremy and he will remain. If Jeremy has to stand for another leadership election, I will chair his campaign and I think the Labour Party members will elect him again.”

Former shadow chancellor Ed Balls, the Morley and Outwood MP until last year, predicted a general election will take place within the next year.

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn (right) and former Shadow foreign secretary Hilary Benn who he has sacked after he raised concerns about his leadership.

The possibility of a snap general election following the EU referendum result and the turmoil in the Conservative Party, combined with dismay at Mr Corbyn’s failure to campaign harder for a Remain vote, led to senior figures taking the decision to move against him.

Deputy leader Tom Watson is due to meet Mr Corbyn today before all of Labour’s 229 MPs are invited to discuss a vote of no confidence in the leader at what is likely to be a fractious meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) in Westminster.

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Hilary Benn
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn leaves his house in London. Corbyn is facing a full-scale revolt by his top team as a string of shadow ministers quit in protest at his leadership during the EU referendum campaign.