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Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the UK opposition Labour Party. Photo: Bloomberg
Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the UK opposition Labour Party. Photo: Bloomberg

UK Labour turmoil deepens as Jeremy Corbyn loses confidence vote in Brexit fallout

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn says he will not resign

London: Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn lost a no-confidence vote, deepening the crisis that’s enveloped Britain’s main opposition party in the wake of the Brexit referendum.

Labour lawmakers backed the no-confidence motion by 172 votes to 40. Corbyn responded by pledging to carry on as leader, despite the resignation of more than 50 of his team in the past three days. The vote is advisory rather than binding.

“Following the ballot conducted today, the Parliamentary Labour Party has accepted the following motion: That this PLP has no confidence in Jeremy Corbyn as Leader of the Parliamentary Labour Party," Labour said in an e-mailed statement on Tuesday.

Britain’s shock vote to leave the European Union last week has plunged the country into turmoil. Prime Minister David Cameron resigned, triggering a leadership contest in the ruling Conservative Party; Scottish politicians are threatening to hold a second referendum on independence from the UK, and the pound sank to the lowest in more than three decades. Labour meanwhile is more divided than at any time since the 1980s.

Corbyn became leader in September with the backing of party members, but little support among Labour members of Parliament. Many lawmakers long opposed to his hard-line socialist policies now accuse him of doing too little to persuade Labour voters to back staying in the EU. They fear Corbyn lacks the powers of persuasion needed to win a general election that could happen sooner than planned.

A Labour leadership election can be triggered if 20% of the party’s lawmakers put their names to a letter backing a rival, and the scale of the revolt against him suggests that the anti-Corbyn camp has enough support in Parliament to reach that figure. Corbyn insisted he’s going nowhere.

“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," he said in a statement. “Today’s vote by MPs has no constitutional legitimacy." Bloomberg

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