Corbyn Loses No-Confidence Vote, Vows Not to 'Betray' Supporters by Resigning
'Labour has the responsibility to give a lead where the government will not.... To do that we need to stand together.'
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn on Tuesday lost a no-confidence vote by 176-40. That means 81 percent of his party is calling for his resignation.
Sky News reports that "Labour deputy leader Tom Watson and former shadow business secretary Angela Eagle have been meeting. It is believed that the pair are the most likely to attempt a leadership challenge."
Following the vote, Corbyn released 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.
Supporters of Jeremy Corbyn rallied on Tuesday as the embattled Labour Party leader faced a no-confidence vote in the ongoing Brexit crisis.
The vote came amid days of internal upheaval, as dozens of members of Corbyn's shadow cabinet resigned, stating they had lost their faith in his ability to lead the country as the UK faces leaving the European Union. The results of the vote are expected to be announced later Tuesday morning.
An estimated 10,000 people gathered outside of Parliament on Tuesday to express support for Corbyn, who addressed the crowd after the meeting.
"Can we all agree we are going to unite together as one people, one society, one community, to oppose racism?" he said. "Don't let the people who wish us ill divide us."
Tuesday's no-confidence vote is nonbinding. While it would be considered standard procedure for a leader to step down if the majority of his party voted for his resignation, Corbyn is expected to fight what his supporters have said is a coup and an attempt to "introduce a more right-wing Conservative government by the backdoor."
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell also spoke to the crowd, reassuring supporters that Corbyn would not be ousted.
"Let me say this, let me make this absolutely clear to you," McDonnell said. "Jeremy Corbyn was elected only nine months ago with the biggest mandate any elected leader has had from the rank and file membership of their party. The biggest. We call that democracy."
"What we've seen over the last few days is a small number of MPs seeking to undermine the democratic decisions of the Labour Party members and the Labour and trade union movement," he continued. "Let me make it absolutely clear. Jeremy Corbyn is not resigning, he's staying."
A spokesperson for Labour said Tuesday that the only way for the party to officially challenge Corbyn would be to collect nominations and launch a new election—which Corbyn has said he would run in.
"The people who elect the leader of the Labour party are the members of the Labour party and Jeremy has made that crystal clear. He’s not going to concede to a corridor coup or backroom deal which tries to flush him out," the spokesperson told the Guardian. "He was elected by an overwhelming majority of the Labour party. He is not going to betray those people and stand down because of pressure."
Outside of Parliament on Tuesday, one protester, a doctor who works at a London hospital, told the Telegraph that she supported Corbyn because he had helped prevent the privatization of British healthcare.
"The Labour Party is made up of two things, it's made up of self interested Blairite MPs," she said, referring to former Prime Minister Tony Blair, "and the membership which is people like me who want a better type to of politics."
"Austerity is a false narrative and Corbyn is the only person who has a message which the NHS [National Health Service] will thrive under," she said.
Speaking to the crowd after the vote, McDonnell also said the "handful of MPs" who were calling for Corbyn's resignation were allowed to "seek another election."
As the crowd chanted, "Corbyn, Corbyn, Corbyn," McDonnell said: "But let me make it clear: if there is another leadership election, Jeremy Corbyn will be standing again and I will be supporting him. This is not about any individual, this is about democracy of the movement."