LABOUR MPs on Tuesday (28) voted massively against party leader Jeremy Corbyn, who lost a non-binding con- fidence motion with 172 MPs voting against him and 40 in favour out of a total of 229 in the Commons.
Corbyn insisted he would not stand down. “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,” he said in a statement.
Over half of Corbyn’s shadow cabi- net resigned since last Sunday (26) in a coordinated series of resignations against the 67-year-old, who only became leader in September. Corbyn (right), a veteran socialist and euro- sceptic who voted against EU mem- bership in a 1975 referendum, has come under heavy criticism from pro- EU MPs for his lukewarm campaign- ing in favour of Britain staying in.
Many experts blamed the strong anti-EU vote in Labour heartlands in northern England on Corbyn. But Corbyn blamed Conservative austeri- ty measures for creating disenchant- ment in many working-class areas and said the media had not covered Labour’s referendum campaign, focusing instead on rifts within the ruling Conservatives.
Seema Malhotra, who quit the shadow cabinet last Sunday (26), told Eastern Eye: “Jeremy has taken the party as far as he can, and we now need a fresh start.
“I’m proud to have worked in Jeremy’s team to achieve what we all want to see: a fairer society and a more equally prosperous Britain. But the challenges we are now facing are growing. Britain is a divided country and Labour is a divided party.
She added: “We face a period of economic and political turmoil, the prospect of the election of a new, right-wing Tory prime minister and an early general election.
“In the face of these new challenges the Labour Party needs strong leadership so we can build the bridges we need across our party, be an effective opposition and rebuild confidence in Labour amongst voters.
“For all his qualities, I don’t believe Jeremy is that leader.
” Malhotra continued: “Candidates have yet to put themselves forward. Those who have been mentioned for the job, including Tom Watson and Angela Eagle among others, are all really strong contenders.
“They can reach out across diverse areas and communities, bridging north and south, and driving forward a positive agenda of aspiration, shared prosperity and fairness throughout Britain.”