Corbyn stays defiant as Labour rebels bide time

  • Prasun Sonwalkar, Hindustan Times, London
  • Updated: Jul 08, 2016 21:00 IST
British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn speaks during a conference in Paris on Friday. (AFP)

As the Conservative Party nears resolving the divisions caused by the EU referendum, the impasse in the Labour party continues with embattled leader Jeremy Corbyn making it clear on Friday he will not resign.

A defiant Corbyn also made it clear that he would again be a candidate if a leadership election were triggered.

After the Labour parliamentary party passed a no-confidence motion in Corbyn, talks to encourage him to resign have remained inconclusive. Rebels such as Angela Eagle – tipped to challenge Corbyn as leader – have held off to hold further talks over the weekend.

In an article in The Guardian, Corbyn wrote: “Those who want to challenge my leadership are free to do so in a democratic contest, in which I will be a candidate. But the responsibility of our whole party is to stand up in united opposition to the Tory government. If we come together, we can take them on and win.”

A potential flashpoint is the July 18 vote in the House of Commons on the renewal of the Trident nuclear deterrent. Corbyn is known for his opposition to it, while more than 100 party MPs are expected to vote in support of the renewal.

Pressure on Corbyn to resign also came from former party leader Neil Kinnock, who was recorded telling a private Labour event: “There are some people who are incapable of learning from the instructions of reality. So they better wake up.”

He added, “I don’t know what case is being made by saying that Jeremy had the biggest majority in history. He didn’t. In 1988, in a different electoral system admittedly, my majority against Tony Benn was 88.6%.”

Kinnock went on to say: “It is vital, essential, irreplaceable that the leader has substantial support from those who go to the country and seek to become lawmakers. When people join the Labour Party, they are joining a party committed to the parliamentary road and that makes it crucial to have a leader with majority support of the parliamentary Labour party.”

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