Isabel Hardman

Labour MPs pass vote of no confidence in Jeremy Corbyn

Labour MPs pass vote of no confidence in Jeremy Corbyn
Text settings

Labour MPs have passed a motion of no confidence in Jeremy Corbyn 172 votes to 40. There were 216 votes cast (out of 229 Labour MPs).

This means that the Labour leader will continue to serve without the support of a majority of his MPs. Unless he decides to resign, he will lead Prime Minister’s Questions for the Opposition tomorrow as normal. I have spoken to the key plotters against the Labour leader, and though they considered not turning up to tomorrow’s session, they have decided that the most important thing for backbenchers to be doing is to be holding the government to account, even if their frontbench is incapable of doing so.

The more important question is who will Corbyn’s opponents stand as a candidate against him. The two main players are Angela Eagle and Tom Watson, both of whom would be better than Corbyn, which is the key test. Most Labour MPs are adamant that if Corbyn does have to be on the ballot paper, then his opponents can only mount one challenger in order to gain the most votes from members. Any more candidates would be too risky given the Labour membership has only just started to turn.

If the Labour leader resigns, he needs 15 per cent of the party to nominate him, but if a contest is forced, then he needs 20 per cent in order to be on the ballot paper. But so far his camp hasn't given any indication that he is minded to resign.

UPDATE, 4.56pm: Jeremy Corbyn has issued this statement:

“In the aftermath of last week’s referendum, our country faces major challenges. Risks to the economy and living standards are growing. The public is divided.

“The Government is in disarray. Ministers have made it clear they have no exit plan, but are determined to make working people pay with a new round of cuts and tax rises.

“Labour has the responsibility to give a lead where the Government will not. We need to bring people together, hold the Government to account, oppose austerity and set out a path to exit that will protect jobs and incomes.

“To do that we need to stand together. Since I was elected leader of our party nine months ago, we have repeatedly defeated the Government over its attacks on living standards.

“Last month, Labour become the largest party in the local elections. In Thursday’s referendum, a narrow majority voted to leave, but two thirds of Labour supporters backed our call for a remain vote.

“I was democratically elected leader of our party for a new kind of politics by 60% 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.”