London | The UK’s embattled Opposition leader, Jeremy Corbyn, today lost a no-confidence motion brought against him by his Labour party MPs in the wake of UK’s shock Brexit vote. The 172-40 vote, which is not binding, follows a raft of resignations from the shadow cabinet and calls on Corbyn to quit.
The leader, however, remains defiant and issued a statement: Labour has the responsibility to give a lead where the government will not. 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.
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.
However, Corbyn’s allies have told his critics to trigger a formal leadership contest if they want to challenge him. I couldn’t believe the strength of feeling, the overwhelming rejection of Jeremy as our leader, and the pleading with him that he should consider his position and go with dignity, said Dame Margaret Hodge, one of the MPs who had tabled the no-confidence motion soon after the UK voted to leave the European Union (EU) last week in a historic referendum.
Corbyn, 67, faced calls to resign at a stormy meeting in the House of Commons yesterday after more than 20 members of his shadow cabinet and a similar number of junior ministers walked out, questioning his performance during the EU referendum and ability to lead the party.
MPs don’t choose the leader of the Labour Party, the party does. I think it is really sad that colleagues have chosen to stage this three-ring circus because they don’t want to have a leadership election because they are not certain of winning a leadership election.
The way to resolve this is to have a leadership election, said Dianne Abbot, newly promoted as shadow health secretary and one of Corbyn’s closest allies. Corbyn told grassroots supporters from the Momentum campaign group who staged a rally in his support outside Parliament yesterday to stand up for the causes they believed in.
Don’t let the media divide us; don’t let those people who wish us ill divide us. Stay together, strong and united, for the kind of world we want to live in, he said. He has continued to remain defiant since the crisis was triggered within the party over the weekend with the sacking of Hilary Benn, former shadow foreign secretary. He was elected as Labour party leader last September in a landslide of Labour members and supporters.
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