London | Britain’s Opposition Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn is facing a ‘coup’ from within his party for not campaigning strongly enough to prevent the country’s exit from the European Union (EU).
Two Labour MPs submitted a motion of no confidence in the leader after the referendum results showed Britain had voted in favour of leaving the EU, saying he did not convey a clear message. Labour MPs Dame Margaret Hodge and Ann Coffey submitted a motion of no confidence against Corbyn to Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) chairman John Cryer.
The motion has no formal constitutional force but calls for a discussion at the PLP’s next meeting on Monday. The chairman will decide whether it is debated. If accepted, a secret ballot of Labour MPs could be held on Tuesday.
Corbyn aides have denied that he is pondering to step down and asked on Friday if he would resign, Corbyn said: No, I’m carrying on. I’m making the case for unity, I’m making the case of what Labour can offer to Britain, of decent housing for people, of good secure jobs for people, of trade with Europe and of course with other parts of the world. Because if we don’t get the trade issue right, we’ve got a real problem in this country, he said.
Seven other Labour MPs are on record as backing the no-confidence motion. It would take 50 MPs uniting around an alternative candidate to trigger a new leadership contest. We clearly need somebody who the public think of as an alternative prime minister,Labour MP Frank Field told BBC.
He admitted the party lacked an obvious alternative to Corbyn, but said he hoped a potential new leader would emerge in a fresh party leadership contest. However, in a joint statement, union leaders have backed Corbyn to continue as leader, saying the last thing Labour needs is a manufactured leadership row of its own.