Secret ballot has no constitutional legitimacy, says resilient Labour leader
JEREMY CORBYN came out fighting yesterday against the vote of no confidence in his leadership of the Labour Party, saying it had “no legitimacy” and vowing not to resign.
The leader hit back moments after the results of the secret ballot on the motion of no confidence were revealed, with 172 in favour and 40 against.
He said: “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.”
The non-binding poll was part of a two-pronged strategy to destabilise Mr Corbyn that also saw soft-left figures take part in co-ordinated resignations from the shadow cabinet since Sunday.
Blairites behind the coup hoped that would force Mr Corbyn, who retains 60 per cent support among party members, to voluntarily stand down.
FBU general secretary Matt Wrack described it as a “secret, well planned, orchestrated coup.
“What we’ve had is people playing political games in Westminster, I think summing up everything that is wrong with British politics,” he added.
But Mr Corbyn has dug in by appointing a new more left-wing front bench and has vowed to stand for re-election just nine months after becoming leader.
His allies expressed confidence yesterday that he will win the leadership election — and go on to lead Labour to victory at any snap general election called by the Tories.
Shadow health secretary Diane Abbott said: “This current three-ring circus is not for the good of the Labour Party. I think a leadership election is now inevitable.
“I think there’s a very good chance Jeremy will win. The party will have shown its will not once, but twice.
“The way forward is a leadership election and then the party will want MPs to rally behind the leader.”
Asked whether he could win a general election, she replied: “Yes, he can win a general election.”