Momentum back Corbyn with protest outside Parliament
LABOUR activists will stage a show of support for Jeremy Corbyn outside Parliament this evening as he confronts coup leaders at a make-or-break meeting of party MPs.
The Momentum campaign group has called an emergency protest in Westminster to coincide with the weekly meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party, the scene of regular attempts to destabilise the leadership.
A rump of MPs on Labour’s right is to push for a motion of no confidence in Mr Corbyn less than a year after he was democratically elected by party members with a landslide majority.
Momentum organiser James Schneider said: “The membership is still entirely behind him. He won this enormous mandate nine months ago. But also I think, more importantly, the country can’t afford for us to be having this kind of divisive civil war right now.”
The meeting comes after resignations from the shadow cabinet, a bid to force Mr Corbyn’s resignation, which reports claimed was co-ordinated via a Snapchat group.
Hilary Benn initiated the plot when he called Mr Corbyn early on Sunday to say he had no confidence in his leadership, forcing Mr Corbyn to sack him as shadow foreign secretary.
The party’s crisis deepened when MPs on the centre-left of the party such as Heidi Alexander, Lilian Greenwood and Kerry McCarthy voluntarily followed Mr Benn off the front bench.
Nine shadow cabinet members had resigned when the Star went to press.
Ms Greenwood, who was shadow transport secretary, wrote: “You are a kind, decent and principled colleague, but in my view a new leadership is required to bridge the widening divides in our party.”
Mr Corbyn remained in defiant mood last night, with a spokesman saying: “There will be no resignation of a democratically elected leader with a strong mandate.”
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell took to the airwaves to stress that his closest political ally would not resign and was prepared to fight another leadership election if necessary.
He told Sky: “Jeremy is not going anywhere. He’ll be a candidate if there is an election.
“I’ll chair his campaign like I did last year and I think the rank and file of the Labour Party will re-elect him.
“If there’s going to be a leadership election, let’s go for it. Jeremy will stand and I think he will be re-elected.”
Mr McDonnell described the resignations as “disappointing” but said there were willing and able candidates ready to fill the posts.
And veteran Labour MP Paul Flynn joked: “If all the Blairites resign from the shadow cabinet, who will be left to leak the confidential business to the press?”
Last night Mr Corbyn was looking to move on from the resignations by holding a reshuffle that will see more left-wing MPs take top positions.