Posted on Jun 26, 2016

    Live Updates: Corbyn Calls On Eagle To "Think For A Moment" Over Leadership Challenge

    Former shadow business secretary Angela Eagle is due to officially launch her leadership bid on Monday.

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    Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is preparing for an exodus of his shadow cabinet after sacking Hilary Benn overnight.

    Shadow health secretary Heidi Alexander led the way by sending a resignation letter declaring that a change of leadership was "essential".

    A Labour source told BuzzFeed News that up to half of the shadow cabinet was expected to follow her lead, plus a raft of junior spokespeople.

    It comes two days after Britain voted to leave the European Union and David Cameron resigned as prime minister.

    But Corbyn stood firm against the attempted coup and insisted he was going nowhere. A spokesman said: "There will be no resignation of a democratically elected leader with a strong mandate."

    Updates

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    Possible leadership contender Smith warns of Labour split

    Gareth Fuller / PA WIRE

    Former shadow work and pensions secretary Owen Smith, touted as another potential leadership challenger to Jeremy Corbyn, has raised the prospect of the Labour party splitting.

    Smith's former shadow cabinet colleague Angela Eagle appeared on ITV's Peston on Sunday show ahead of her formal leadership bid tomorrow, where she refused to confirm Corbyn should automatically be given a place on the ballot paper even if he can't get the nominations of 20% of Labour MPs and MEPs (50).

    Corbyn's view is that he does not need the nominations, partly owing to the fact he lost a vote of no confidence in his leadership 172-40. This raises the possibility of the party being split; either if Corbyn wins the eventual leadership vote, or if he is denied a place on the ballot.

    On Sunday morning, Smith tweeted:

    On July 27 I asked @jeremycorbyn 3 times if he was prepared to see our party split & worse, wanted it to. He offered no answer 1/2

    2/2 in the same meeting, in response to the same question @johnmcdonnellMP shrugged his shoulders and said 'if that's what it takes.'

    He added that he was "not prepared to stand by" and see the party split.

    I am not prepared to stand by and see our party split. And I have asked to meet with Jeremy again tomorrow to see how we can stop that.

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    Corbyn "disappointed" at leadership challenge

    Andrew Marr Show / BBC1

    Jeremy Corbyn has told the BBC he is "disappointed" by a looming formal leadership challenge from former shadow cabinet member Angela Eagle.

    Speaking on The Andrew Marr Show, Corbyn said Eagle was "free to do that if she wishes", but urged her to "think for a moment" about her decision.

    "This is an opportunity when we could be putting enormous pressure of this Tory government on inequality, injustice and poverty," Corbyn said.

    Corbyn, who said Labour was a "party that's going places and doing very well", insisted he would automatically be on the leadership ballot if challenged, and suggested he would go to court if Labour's National Executive Committee ruled the opposite.

    Last week, Labour's general secretary Iain McNicol said almost 130,000 people had joined the party as members since the EU referendum, taking it to more than half a million overall.

    Corbyn won almost 60% of the vote when elected as leader last September.

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    Former shadow business secretary Angela Eagle has said she will launch a leadership bid on Monday in a fresh attempt to remove Jeremy Corbyn as the party's leader.

    Dan Kitwood / Getty Images

    In a statement, she said that Corbyn was unable "to lead an organised and effective" opposition.

    Eagle said she "will explain my vision for the country and the difference a strong Labour party can make."

    After a formal contest has launched, Labour members will vote on who they want as their leader.

    When Corbyn was elected into the position just nine months ago, he won with a higher proportion of the vote than Tony Blair gained in the 1994 party leadership election.

    More than 100,000 new members have signed up to the Labour party since the majority of shadow cabinet ministers quit in protest at Corbyn's leadership, and he lost a non-binding vote of confidence from MPs.

    Eagle is also due to appear on ITV's Peston on Sunday show tomorrow. Her statement said:

    "I want to thank our deputy leader Tom Watson, the chair of the parliamentary Labour party John Cryer and chief whip Rosie Winterton and the union movement for trying to find a solution to the impasse Labour faces with a leader who has failed to fulfil his first and foremost duty, that is to lead an organised and effective parliamentary Labour party that can both hold the government to account and demonstrate we are ready to form a government in the event of a general election.

    "On Monday morning I will announce my candidature for leader of the Labour party. I will explain my vision for the country and the difference a strong Labour party can make."

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    Deputy Labour leader Tom Watson has called off talks with unions after hitting a wall over Jeremy Corbyn's future at the top of the party.

    Dan Kitwood / Getty Images

    Watson said that Corbyn's declaration that he would continue as leader "come what may", alongside talks between Watson, Unite's Len McCluskey, parliamentary Labour party (PLP) chair John Cryer, and chief whip Rosie Winterton had complicated matters.

    "This means there is no realistic prospect of reaching a compromise that satisfies the majority of colleagues in the PLP," Watson said in a statement on Saturday.

    "There is little to be achieved by pursuing wider conversations with our union affiliates at this time," he added.

    McCluskey has been a vocal supporter of Corbyn throughout his leadership, last week calling him a "man of steel" in the face of Labour's current turmoil.

    On concluding the talks, Watson thanked McCluskey for the good faith he had shown throughout, and said conversations were conducted with "a spirit of openness and comradeship".

    Labour's MP for Pontypridd, Owen Smith, who had been holding off launching a challenge to Corbyn's leadership in the hope that talks could solve the rift said he was "deeply disappointed" that they had broken down without a satisfactory resolution.

    "This is the greatest crisis facing Labour in generations and it comes at a time when our country is in desperate need of a united Labour Party to speak for Britain," Smith wrote in a statement, adding that he was worried that there were still people in the party who were intent on splitting it up.

    "The Labour movement must come together to avoid this at all costs," he said. "I remain committed to doing anything necessary to prevent a split and unite the party."

    Responding to Watson's announcement on Sky News, Corbyn thanked unions, from their leadership to grassroots membership, for their support of the Labour party.

    He called for his parliamentary party colleagues to listen to the unions and put an end to the division that has pushed Labour to crisis point in recent weeks.

    "I urge all my colleagues to listen very carefully to them and indeed come together," Corbyn said. "Come together to oppose what this government is doing to the most vulnerable within our society."

    Asked whether he found the continued attempts by Labour MPs to oust him as leader demeaning, he deflected the suggestion. "Nothing's demeaning at all," he said. "I'm very happy!"

    Sky News

    It now means Corbyn is almost certain to face a leadership challenge next week, with former shadow cabinet members Angela Eagle and Owen Smith his most likely opponents.

    Read Watson's full statement:

    "At the Parliamentary Labour Party meeting on Monday I gave a commitment to hold talks with union representatives to find a way forward for our party.

    "Since then I have met with Unite General Secretary Len McCluskey along with John Cryer, the Chair of the PLP, and chief whip Rosie Winterton.

    "I felt we made significant progress during those talks, which were designed to find a solution to the impasse the party finds itself in. It is my strong belief that those discussions could have formed a basis for further talks with union representatives.

    "However, since the talks began Jeremy has publicly declared his intention to continue as leader come what may. This means there is no realistic prospect of reaching a compromise that satisfies the majority of colleagues in the PLP.

    "It is with regret and profound sadness that I have concluded there is little to be achieved by pursuing wider conversations with our union affiliates at this time.

    "The Labour Party was founded with the explicit aim of pursuing the Parliamentary path to socialism. Every Labour leader needs to command the support of their MPs in the Parliamentary Labour Party, as well as party members, in order to achieve that. It is clear to all that Jeremy has lost the support of the PLP with little prospect of regaining it.

    "I want to thank Len McCluskey for the good faith he has shown during our conversations, which have been conducted in a spirit of openness and comradeship throughout.

    "We need a strong and united Labour party in Parliament. I will continue to do everything I can to achieve this. If circumstances change I hope talks can be resumed."

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    Stefan Rousseau / PA WIRE

    Theresa May and Andrea Leadsom are the final two candidates for the Conservative leadership, and will now be balloted among approximately 150,000 party members, with a decision expected 9 September. The winner will take over from David Cameron as party leader and prime minister. To be successful, a candidate must achieve a simple majority.

    May, who quietly campaigned for Remain, has been seen as the prominent frontrunner. In the second round of voting she received the backing of 199 MPs.

    Leadsom, a vocal Leave campaigner, battled for a share of the votes with Michael Gove, the justice secretary, and received 84 votes. Gove was eliminated in the second round with 46 votes.

    The result means the UK will soon have its second female prime minister.

    Following the vote, May said the country needs "strong, proven leadership" that only she can provide. "Those are the things my colleagues have voted for in overwhelming numbers today, and I am confident they will win the support of our members – and the support of the country as a whole."

    Also speaking after the vote, former work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith, who campaigned for Leave, told reporters Leadsom had a ''velvet glove of compassion" – and denied she was simply the right-wing candidate.

    Ian Duncan Smith denies Andrea Leadsom is just the right wing candidate "she's an optimist"

    Speaking after the vote, Gove said he was "naturally disappointed" in the result.

    Thanks to all who supported me. Congratulations to @TheresaMay2016 and @andrealeadsom. All the best with the campaign.

    Gove declined to answer questions from reporters on the outcome of the vote. Instead he praised both women as "formidable politicians" and said it was now in the hands of party members to decide the country's next leader.

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    Tory leadership hopeful Andrea Leadsom has organised a school exchange project for the last 10 years with a Ugandan centre co-run by an anti-gay Christian group that performs "gay cure" ministries and whose founder condemned homosexual love as "a sin", BuzzFeed News has revealed.

    Speaking in Parliament in 2013, Leadsom praised the project she set up in 2006 with Richard Johnson, who "runs a fantastic youth centre in Uganda", called the Discovery Centre. The project involves sending UK students to the centre for conferences and meetings.

    The Discovery Centre – whose stated goal is "to promote the gospel and kingdom of Jesus Christ" – is a joint project between a UK-based charitable trust run by Johnson and Youth With A Mission (YWAM) Uganda, BuzzFeed has learned.

    However, YMAV also runs "gay cure" ministries, its website shows. In Amsterdam, YWAM's "Kompassion Ministry" works to "help broken people…who struggle with their unwanted homosexual orientation".

    YMAV's founder also wrote in his book that homosexuality as a "sin", referring to it as "counterfeit love". Leadsom had not responded to a request for comment from BuzzFeed News by the time of publication.

    Special correspondent James Ball reports.

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    Theresa May has taken a swipe at leadership contender Andrea Leadsom, on the day of the second round of Tory voting.

    Stefan Rousseau / PA WIRE

    In an apparent swipe at Leadsom, who appears to be gathering support among MPs, a spokesperson for May pointedly referred to the energy minister's statement this morning that EU nationals would have leave to remain in the UK.

    The spokesperson said:

    Andrea Leadsom's commitment to give permanent residence to foreign criminals is concerning - and is exactly the kind of misjudgment that her inexperience can cause. That's why we need strong, proven leadership - something only Theresa can offer.

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    Andrea Leadsom has responded to questions about her CV.

    Matt Crossick

    Leadsom, one of the leading candidates for the Tory leadership, has been speaking about her CV after allegations she may have exaggerated elements of it.

    She denied that she had ever claimed to be an fund manager, despite the fact that her CV – released on Wednesday – appeared to list one of her previous roles as a "senior investment officer and head of corporate governance".

    Speaking on Sky News this morning, Leadsom said her CV was "absolutely" correct.

    In a raft of interviews, she also spoke to BBC News, and reiterated that her CV had not been changed. Leadsom ran through her former positions, which ranged from working in Sainsbury's to her 25 years in finance. "My CV is incredibly varied and it is all absolutely true," she said. "My CV is exactly as I have set it out."

    Leadsom backed the claims made by supporters, such as armed forces minister Penny Mordant, that due to her career in the city she was used to handling billions worth of sums. She said there had been a "misunderstanding" of what her roles – and the roles within the city – entailed. While she once again said that she had never been a fund manager, she maintained she had worked in the markets, and in banking, and those positions required handling of sums of money.

    Former colleagues at Barclays and Invesco Perpetual also told the Financial Times they were surprised by some of Leadsom's former roles, specifically her claim to have been Barclay's youngest ever director. "I think some of the claims about her seniority are somewhat fanciful," one told the FT.

    Leadsom also laid out some other key lines for her leadership.

    Among them were that she was not a fan of the gay marriage legislation – she indicated she would have preferred to make civil unions open to heterosexuals – and that she would review the HS2 railway decision, according to an interview with ITV. She also addressed why she had not yet published her tax returns, unlike other candidates, saying it was an attempt to keep the private lives of MPs private. Finally, she said she would hold a vote to repeal the fox hunting law.

    Andrea Leadsom tells me she would hold a vote to bring back fox hunting.

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    A charity launched by Andrea Leadsom has received its main financial support from a foundation run by her sister and funded by her brother-in-law, a major Conservative donor and offshore investment banker, BuzzFeed News has revealed.

    Leadsom's sister is married to Peter de Putron, a Channel Islands investment banker who has donated more than £520,000 to the Conservative party since Leadsom became a candidate for parliament – £80,000 of which went to her office or constituency party.

    But a foundation connected to de Putron also donated £670,000 to a charity established by Leadsom that has been accused of serving to further her political career.

    Dr Miriam Silver, a clinical psychologist who was involved in the charity network in its early years, wrote:

    I felt, cynically perhaps, that there was a second agenda designed to promote the MP who founded the project and her political party which was of more importance than our clinical goals, although this was never explicit.

    Special correspondent James Ball reports.

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    Meanwhile, Owen Smith has called for unity in the face of Labour rifts – and urged his party for more time.

    Gareth Fuller / PA WIRE

    Former shadow work and pensions secretary Owen Smith said in a statement that he is working with union leaders and entrenched Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to "heal the rifts" in the party.

    Corbyn, who has been urged to resign by former and current Labour MPs, has continued to say he will not stand down.

    In a statement on Thursday, Smith said he had spoken to Corbyn and Len McCluskey, a Corbyn backer and the leader of the Unite union, and that talks between the Labour leader and his deputy, Tom Watson, had been "productive" – but were likely to continue over the weekend. He added that Corbyn has received the latest meetings with "an open mind" and called on party members and MPs to stop infighting.

    Smith, who said he had been contacted by hundreds of Labour party members, admitted he feared the party could split. "I share those fears and call on everyone in our movement to do all we can to avert such a disastrous outcome," he said.

    The former shadow minister had been discussed as a possible leadership contender, alongside Angela Eagle. But in the past week, he appears to have stood aside to allow Eagle a potentially clear run at the position.

    "I believe that all of us whose priority is to restore unity in the Labour movement and give us a chance to defeat our only true enemy, the Tories, should give these talks every chance to succeed," he added.

    Watson is meeting the Unite leader today.

    Len McCluskey meeting Tom Watson now. I understand he'll say now is wrong time to mount a leadership challenge while negotiations ongoing

    The two are also meeting John Cryer, chair of the parliamentary party, and Labour chief whip Rosie Winterton.

    Corbyn faces serious opposition from his own MPs, 172 of whom voted against him in a non-binding motion of no confidence last week.

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    Andrea Leadsom: "I truly believe we can be the greatest nation on earth."

    Sky News

    Andrea Leadsom has formally launched her bid for the Conservative leadership, saying she was for "prosperity, not austerity" and outlining her plans for the British economy post-Brexit.

    "Let's banish the pessimists," the energy minister said to loud applause during her address at Millbank Tower.

    Leadsom – who was introduced by armed forces minister and fellow staunch Leave campaigner Penny Mordaunt – has emerged as the leading pro-Brexit candidate for the Tory leadership. Her nearest rival is Michael Gove, who after dramatically betraying Boris Johnson appears to be struggling to gather support among MPs.

    The energy minister made a pitch for aspirational values, telling supporters: "I truly believe that we can be the greatest nation on earth."

    "Together we will write another great chapter of prosperity and tolerance and hope," she said. Leadsom sought to reassure the markets that the UK could cope with leaving the EU. She went on to say that the stock market had already recovered, and that the lowered pound would be good for exports.

    "Trade must be the top priority," she said. She went on to outline how she wanted to see "higher pay for the many". Leadsom told an enthusiastic crowd: "I want to lead a nation where anyone who aims high can achieve their dreams."

    Touching on immigration, she said although the country need "fair and controlled" immigration, EU nationals already here legally "would be welcome to stay".

    "I will not use people's lives as bargaining chips," she added, in a possible swipe at leading Tory candidate Theresa May, who has yet to comment on the status of EU nationals already resident in the UK.

    Leadsom ended by telling supporters: "Let us unite and together we will write another great chapter, one of prosperity, tolerance, and hope."

    Folllowing her speech, a crowd walked to parliament in support of her leadership bid.

    Stop everything and watch this video of Andrea Leadsom's march on parliament.

    Leadsom did not march with her supporters, instead getting a car to her office in parliament.

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    Theresa May Wins First Round Of The Tory Leadership Race

    Jack Taylor / Getty Images

    Home secretary Theresa May won a substantial victory in the first round of the Conservative party leadership election, with anti-EU challenger Andrea Leadsom coming in second.

    Five candidates stood in the ballot, which saw disgraced former cabinet minister Liam Fox finish last and exit the race. He was joined by Stephen Crabb, who later announced he would be dropping out after coming second-last.

    May won 165 votes in the secret ballot, just over 50% of the 329 Tory MPs who took part in the contest. Leadsom, a junior energy minister who has no previous cabinet experience but rose to prominence as part of the Vote Leave campaign, came second on 66 votes.

    Tory leadership election first round (ballot of MPs): May 165 Leadsom 66 Gove 48 Crabb 34 Fox 16 FOX OUT

    Justice secretary Michael Gove came third on 48 votes and work and pensions secretary Stephen Crabb took 34.

    A further ballot of MPs will be held on Thursday to reduce the three remaining candidates to two. Approximately 150,000 ordinary Conservative members will then be asked to vote on which of these two MPs they want to be party leader – and therefore prime minister – with the result announced on 9 September.

    Political editor Jim Waterson reports.

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    Conservative party grandees have been caught making unflattering remarks about the leadership candidates.

    Ken Clarke and Malcolm Rifkind filmed in Sky News Westminster studio making remarks about Tory leadership candidates https://t.co/SywJXdMvH6

    Theresa May is "bloody difficult" to work with and Andrea Leadsom has said "extremely stupid things" about Brexit, according to former cabinet minister Ken Clarke.

    But Clarke, who was caught making the comments during an apparently unguarded conversation with fellow party grandee Sir Malcolm Rifkind at the Sky News studios, reserved more negative commentary for justice secretary Michael Gove.

    Clarke said that Gove made "wild" comments during a discussion about Syria or Iraq and that Liam Fox, who he said was "much more right-wing" than himself, was raising his eyebrows in shock.

    "I think with Michael as prime minister we'd go to war with at least three countries at once," Clarke said.

    Rifkind piled on the pressure and said: "I don't mind who wins as long as Gove comes third." The final two remaining leadership candidates will be voted on by Conservative party members.

    Clarke also criticised other leadership candidates who hope to succeed prime minister David Cameron. "Theresa is a bloody difficult woman but you and I worked with Margaret Thatcher," he said. "I get on all right with her, and she is good."

    He cast doubt on May's experience, despite the fact she has the most ministerial experience of any other candidate. "She's been at the home office far too long, so I only know in detail what her views are on the home office," Clarke said.

    "She doesn't know much about foreign affairs."

    Clarke, who is often referred to as a "big beast" of the Conservative party, was also disparaging about Leadsom, who campaigned to leave the EU.

    "She is not one of the tiny band of lunatics who think we can have a sort of glorious economic future outside the single market," he said.

    "So long as she understands that she's not to deliver on some of the extremely stupid things she's been saying."

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    Tory leadership candidate Andrea Leadsom is still facing questions over a retweet that said the UK is "overrun by foreigners".

    Rob Stothard / Getty Images

    Andrea Leadsom has come under fire after she retweeted a comment that said the UK is "overrun by foreigners".

    Leadsom, who has the support of the controversial Leave.EU campaign as well as UKIP's biggest donor, Arron Banks, appeared to retweet the remark on 20 June.

    Prominent Leave campaigner Andrea Leadsom RTing tweet about "country overrun by foreigners"

    Supporters of rival leadership candidate Stephen Crabb have criticised Leadsom for sharing the comment to her Twitter followers.

    A spokesperson for Leadsom told the Huffington Post on Monday that she "did not retweet the message" and suggested it "was fabricated in some way" because the tweet no longer exists.

    "It appears that the message in question never existed, but was fabricated in some way," a spokesperson said. "We are continuing to investigate how the impression was created that Andrea retweeted this message. We will not speculate about those circumstances."

    But multiple websites that track tweets that are deleted by MPs show that Leadsom retweeted the comment. The account that initially sent the message has since been deactivated and it is therefore unclear whether Leadsom deleted the retweet herself.

    PostGhost

    A spokesperson for Leadsom did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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    Here's what you need to know this morning:

    CHRIS RATCLIFFE,BEN STANSALL,STEFAN ROUSSEAU,NIKLAS HALLE'N/AFP / Getty Images

    Conservative MPs vote on their next leader today.

    Tory MPs will vote in the first round of the leadership contest today. Voting opens at 11am and will run through to 6pm. We should know the results by 7pm.

    Here's how it works: There are five MPs who've put themselves forward – home secretary Theresa May, energy minister Andrea Leadsom, justice secretary Michael Gove, work and pensions secretary Stephen Crabb, and former defence secretary Liam Fox.

    One MP will be voted out in each round (the next vote will take place on Thursday and then Tuesday again) until there are only two MPs left on the ballot. The vote will then be opened out to around 150,000 Conservative party members. Let the games begin.

    Andrea Leadsom didn't go down well at Tory leadership hustings.

    Tory leadership candidates faced a grilling from MPs in a committee room in parliament last night – but Andrea Leadsom stumbled during the hustings as she made her pitch, according to a cabinet minister present.

    Leadsom, who campaigned for Britain to leave the EU, was grilled over her links to controversial campaign group Leave.EU which has endorsed her leadership bid.

    One cabinet minister said she was asked three times about her backing from UKIP and Leave.EU. "When you're asked to say you're not UKIP at a hustings to be leader of the Conservative party, you're in trouble," he said. "It was a car crash." Another MP said her pitch was a "fucking shambles".

    A self-selecting survey of Tory members on ConservativeHome found that Leadsom was the most popular choice to be the next Tory leader. She was also backed last night by ex–London mayor Boris Johnson, who believes she has "the zap, the drive, and the determination" to be the next PM.

    Read the full report by senior political correspondent Emily Ashton.

    Breitbart UK editor considers standing for leader of UKIP.

    We've got leadership elections in the Conservative party, the Green party, and also UKIP to look forward to this summer, after Nigel Farage announced his resignation on Monday morning.

    Now Raheem Kassam, the London editor-in-chief of the right-wing news outlet Breitbart, has said he is considering running to become UKIP leader.

    Kassam, who previously worked as Farage's close aide during the 2015 general election campaign, unexpectedly told BBC Newsnight he is considering running for the leadership.

    "I intend to shake up the leadership contest," he later told BuzzFeed News. "Maybe by running. Maybe another way."

    Kassam, 29, who has never held elected office and has previously worked at variety of right-wing campaign groups, also claimed to have the backing of his former boss.

    "Farage knows and he told me by way of third party that it was a good idea," he added. "Don't know if that is true or not, to be honest."

    Meanwhile The Times reported that UKIP donor Arron Banks is preparing his own leadership bid and there are suggestions he could work alongside Kassam.

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    Jeremy Corbyn urges MPs to "come together now".

    After the events of the past week, I wanted to talk directly to Labour Party members. https://t.co/mmLLLCIsL5

    Jeremy Corbyn has appealed to MPs and party members to "come together now" following a tumultuous week for the Labour leader.

    In a video posted on Twitter on Monday afternoon, Corbyn said the party is "strong" when it works together, citing examples of where the government has been forced to back down such as on disability payments and forced academisation of schools.

    Corbyn is under pressure to resign after almost every member of the shadow cabinet resigned last week and he lost a motion of no confidence.

    "Come together now to oppose this Tory government," Corbyn said in the video. "Come together now to campaign for housing, for jobs, for schools, for hospitals – all the things that we the Labour party and the Labour movement absolutely believe in."

    The Labour leader sought to dismiss rumours that he is planning to resign, and repeated a previous statement that he was elected by 60% of the Labour membership just nine months ago. "I have a huge responsibility – and I'm carrying on that responsibility," he said.

    Corbyn also argued that the party has become stronger since he was elected as leader, citing parliamentary by-elections and the local elections, where Labour exceeded low expectations.

    The video comes just a day after he wrote an article in The Mirror and said he was "ready to reach out" to his enemies in the party.

    Just minutes after he posted the video, Fabian Hamilton, the party's shadow Europe minister, stepped down from his post.

    Meanwhile membership of the pro-Corbyn group Momentum has doubled to 12,000 in the last week, according to the campaigning group.

    Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images

    Momentum, the grassroots campaign set up last year to boost Jeremy Corbyn's bid to become Labour leader, has since transformed into an activist group to defend his leadership.

    The group has become more active following reports last Sunday that Labour MPs were staging a "coup" to overthrow the leader and has held more than a dozen rallies across the country.

    The largest took place in Parliament Square while Labour MPs in the Commons told Corbyn that he should resign to give the party a better chance of electoral success.

    But while Angela Eagle and Owen Smith, both of whom resigned from the shadow cabinet last week in protest of Corbyn's leadership, have been preparing their own leadership bids, neither has laid down a formal challenge required to trigger a contest in the Labour party.

    This has allowed Momentum, which had 140,000 people on its email mailing list in May, to build further support for Corbyn.

    In a statement on Monday, a spokesperson for the group said that in the last seven days, membership had doubled to 12,000 and that 1,500 people were donating £11,000 a day to the group.

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    Matt Crossick / PA WIRE

    Following UKIP leader Nigel Farage's resignation as party leader earlier on Monday, senior reporter Patrick Smith has rounded up of some of his key moments.

    It includes everything from blaming traffic on the M4 that made him late for a meeting on immigration to defending a UKIP parliamentary candidate for using the words "chinky" and "poofters".

    Speaking to LBC two years ago, Farage said: "If you and your mates were going out for a Chinese, what do you say you're going for?"

    You can read the full list of memorable moments here.

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    Tory leadership hopeful Andrea Leadsom has distanced herself from her UKIP supporters – insisting she has "no allegiances" to the anti-EU party and refusing to give Nigel Farage a job.

    Launching her leadership bid in London on Monday, the pro-Leave energy minister said her key negotiating team would only come from within government and she wasn't concerned about UKIP members rushing to endorse her.

    Leadsom, 53, is the only contender without cabinet experience but she insisted she was ready to be PM. "I am better prepared for the coming negotiations than anyone else," she said. "I know I can do the job."

    Her leadership launch came just an hour after Nigel Farage resigned as UKIP leader, at a venue just yards away. She was informed by a journalist that Farage was "now available".

    "For what?" she replied. Asked whether he would ever be part of her team, she said: "I will only have my key negotiating team from the government and that's quite clear. There will be consultations but it will be a government cabinet minister and members of the government who lead the negotiations."

    Leave.EU, an anti-EU group funded by UKIP donor Arron Banks, has publicly supported Leadsom's bid to be the next Tory leader.

    Leave.EU backs @AndreaLeadsom for Conservative leadership. Read more at: https://t.co/cVqnS3LlBQ #Leadsom4Leader

    Asked whether she was concerned about the backing from UKIP, Leadsom said: "I'm not really concerned about anything. I am who I am, I stand up for myself and I hope that I'm completely honest and if anyone wants to ask me a question they can. And I have no allegiances to UKIP." Senior political correspondent Emily Ashton reports.

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    Former chancellor Lord Lawson has backed Michael Gove for party leader.

    Pa / PA WIRE

    Former Conservative chancellor Lord Lawson has publicly given his support to Michael Gove in the race to replace David Cameron as the next party leader and prime minister.

    Lord Nigel Lawson, who backed Britain's exit from the European Union in the referendum, said Gove was best placed to "navigate our departure" from the EU.

    The justice secretary was a key figure in Vote Leave, the official campaign to leave the EU, and announced his leadership bid on Wednesday morning, effectively ending Boris Johnson's campaign.

    "Michael led from the front in the referendum. He campaigned with patriotic conviction and made the case with intellectual authority. We could not have achieved victory without him," Lawson said in a statement.

    "He is also a formidably successful cabinet minister. I know from my own experience how tough it is to drive reform through Whitehall. Michael took on the huge challenge of reforming our education system with clarity and conviction – and with great success.

    "Michael also has a good understanding of both economic and foreign policy. He is the best-equipped candidate for prime minister."

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    Nigel Farage has announced his resignation as leader of UKIP following the Leave campaign's success in the EU referendum.

    Facebook: video.php

    Farage said: "I've never wanted to be a career politician. My aim in politics has been to get Britain out of the European Union. That is what we voted for in the referendum two weeks ago, and I now feel I've done my bit, and I couldn't possibly do more than we managed to get in that EU referendum."

    He added it has been a "huge chunk of his life" and it's not easy letting go of the leadership "when you feel a degree of ownership" over the party's brand.

    He said that while his mantra during the EU referendum was "I want my country back", his resignation was him saying "I want my life back."

    Farage also tendered his resignation as UKIP leader after failing to win a seat in Westminster at the 2015 general election, before performing a U-turn three days later.

    However during Monday morning's speech, Farage insisted "this time I mean it", although he did not rule out a return to frontline politics if he deemed Brexit negotiations to be unsatisfactory.

    He also warned other parties to "watch this space" over UKIP's chances at the 2020 general election, and predicted that the party would take seats in Labour's northern strongholds:

    I have decided to stand aside as Leader of UKIP. The victory for the 'Leave' side in the referendum means that my political ambition has been achieved. I came into this struggle from business because I wanted us to be a self-governing nation, not to become a career politician.

    UKIP is in a good position and will continue, with my full support to attract a significant vote. Whilst we will now leave the European Union the terms of our withdrawal are unclear. If there is too much backsliding by the Government and with the Labour Party detached from many of its voters then UKIP's best days may be yet to come.

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    Politicians have called for guarantees to be given to EU nationals living in the UK after Tory leadership frontrunner Theresa May failed to offer assurances for their future in Britain after Brexit.

    Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images

    The home secretary, who has a substantial poll lead over the other four candidates to become the next Conservative leader, said the decision on whether people from other EU member states will be able to stay in the UK will be subject to "negotiations", during an appearance on ITV's Peston On Sunday.

    May also couldn't guarantee that British citizens living in other EU member states would be able to stay in their adopted countries when the UK eventually leaves the EU in the years to come.

    SNP first minister Nicola Sturgeon led calls to for guarantees to be given to EU nationals living in the UK that they would be able to stay here after Britain has formally left the union.

    Responding to May's comments, which The Guardian's political editor Patrick Wintour said "creates potentially years of insecurity," Sturgeon tweeted: "The fear and uncertainty this causes people who have built their lives here is cruel."

    The fear & uncertainty this causes people who have built their lives here is cruel. Guarantees should be given now. https://t.co/nMHT1cVs6i

    MPs including Gisela Stuart (who backed Leave), Yvette Cooper and Peter Lilley also made a cross-party call to the government "to make an unequivocal statement that EU migrants currently living in the UK are welcome here," in an open letter published in The Telegraph on Sunday.

    "There is anxiety for the three million EU citizens who have made their homes in the UK, and the 1.2 million British citizens living in other EU countries," the letter continued, also noting the disruption that could be caused to British businesses employing EU nationals.

    Signatories said that "a clear commitment to protect the status of EU migrants was made by the official Vote Leave campaign – and it must be honoured."

    A clear commitment from government to protect the immigration status of those who have moved to the UK from other EU countries could also help put paid to the surge in racially motivated hate crime since last week's referendum, the letter said.

    The National Police Chiefs Council said there has been a significant spike in reporting of hate crimes – which has included hate mail being posted through the letterboxes of Polish residents in Leicestershire, and racist graffiti being left on a Polish cultural centre in London – since the result of the vote was announced on Friday.

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    Pro-Brexit Tory leadership candidate Andrea Leadsom has defended comments she made three years ago that the UK should stay in the EU.

    Chris J Ratcliffe / AFP / Getty Images

    Speaking at a lecture in 2013, Leadsom said: "I'm going to nail my colours to the mast here: I don't think the UK should leave the EU."

    But asked to explain her change in stance on Sunday's Andrew Marr Show on BBC1, Leadsom said "it's been a journey," and pointed out that she also said in the same lecture the UK's current position in the EU was "untenable" without reform.

    A spokesperson for Leadsom said the comments, published by the Mail on Sunday, had been taken out of context.

    "Andrea's position is and has always been that without fundamental reform, the UK could not remain in the EU," the spokesperson said.

    Separately, when put on the spot by Marr on Sunday, Leadsom also said she would be "perfectly happy to publish my tax returns," although added that she would not want to set a precedent for all MPs to have to publish financial records.

    Fellow Conservative leadership frontrunners Theresa May and Michael Gove also said on Sunday that they would be willing to publish their tax returns.

    Here @andrealeadsom 2013 Hansard lecture "nailing colours to mast" on EU exit econ "disaster..decade of uncertainty" https://t.co/6KMYn8onGz

    Gove too appeared on Marr, where he was dubbed a "political serial killer" following his surprise usurping of pro-Leave campaign-mate Boris Johnson by announcing his Tory leadership bid on Thursday.

    "There are people who will say all sorts of things," Gove said. "Boris could have chosen to go on if he wished to. The fact that he didn't is telling."

    Gove, who has admitted that he had always believed he had neither the "glamour" nor "charisma" to lead the governing party added: "There are all sorts of people who will say disobliging things about me. I don't mind that. I would rather people said this is a man that sticks to his principles, not a man who's worried about popularity".

    Later on Sunday, Labour's shadow home secretary Andy Burnham, one of the few members of the opposition's front bench not to step down in the last week, announced his support for Gove in the Conservative leadership contest.

    I have shadowed both Gove & May. No question in my mind who's the better politician & person. Hope the Tories go for Gove.

    Burnham tweeted that having worked closely with both Gove and May that he had no question over "who's the better politician and person".

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    Jeremy Corbyn has said he is "ready to reach out" to his enemies in the Labour party, who have been resigning en masse since last Sunday.

    Neil Hall / Reuters

    Writing in the Sunday Mirror, the beleaguered Labour leader expressed a keenness to "work with the whole party to provide the alternative the country needs," but urged those who have challenged his leadership to respect the views of the wider Labour membership, who voted him in with a huge mandate nine months ago.

    "Our priority must be to mobilise this incredible force to oppose the Tories, and ensure people in Britain have a real political alternative," Corbyn writes, noting that government's failure to formulate an EU exit plan will punish working people with "more spending cuts and tax rises".

    "What's needed now is leadership and a clear plan," Corbyn continues.

    Corbyn said those still challenging his leadership were "free to do so in a democratic contest, in which I will be a candidate," an assertion that is disputed.

    On Saturday, Angela Eagle, one of the candidates poised to challenge Corbyn in a leadership election, said he should do "the right thing for the party and the country," and step down.

    "I said before he should resign, he's lost the confidence of the party, he's losing confidence in the party. And let's face it the country's in crisis, and we need strong opposition," Eagle told reporters outside her house.

    Neil Hall / Reuters

    But the rift inside Labour's parliamentary party showed no signs of healing, despite the BBC reporting that MPs were trying to propose a settlement deal to Corbyn, where he would be eased out of leadership, but would be offered a front bench position that would allow him to retain the party's anti-austerity policy platform.

    Senior Labour sources close to Corbyn have said that they had blocked negotiation meetings between the leader and his deputy Tom Watson, as they believed that Watson would bully Corbyn into resigning, according to The Guardian.

    "We are not letting that happen. He's a 70-year-old [sic] man. We have a duty of care … This is not a one-off. There is a culture of bullying. Maybe it's a Blairite/Brownite thing," the source reportedly said.

    But others in the party denied claims Watson was unable to secure a meeting with the Labour leader. "It's a ridiculous story. Those comments are an anonymous source and obviously not from within the team," a source close to Corbyn reportedly told The Mirror.

    They said that Watson had been seen beside Corbyn on numerous occasions last week, including in parliament, and that one-on-one meetings were not commonplace among senior Labour MPs anyway. "People usually bring their own aide. But if people want a one-on-one I'm sure they would get one," the source added.

    Meanwhile, Corbyn allies accused Rob Marris, who resigned as shadow finance minister last week, of sabotaging Labour by deleting files that would allow the party to challenge the Tory finance bill.

    "Unfortunately, it looks like someone from Rob Marris's office has deleted the vast majority of the finance bill records and notes on each clause from the shared drive," a leaked email seen by The Guardian revealed.

    In a statement, Marris did not appear to wholly deny the accusation. "I have not removed Labour party material from a shared computer drive," the MP tweeted.

    "I have not removed Labour Party material from a shared computer drive.

    "The only material removed belonged to me, not to the Labour party," Marris continued. "It was created to help me as a shadow treasury minister. I am no longer a shadow minister.

    "I paid for this material using my parliamentary staff allowance to fulfil my role as a shadow minister.

    "The Labour party did not pay a penny for it."

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    Thousands attend "March for Europe" in London

    Daniel Leal-olivas / PA WIRE

    Remain supporters are marching through London to protest the referendum result.

    Thousands of people are thought to be attending the March for Europe rally, which will culminate with speeches in Parliament Square.

    Police believe 30,000 people are marching, but organisers estimate around 50,000.

    Jonathan Brady / PA WIRE

    Lib Dem leader Tim Farron addresses protesters during the march.

    Jonathan Brady / PA WIRE
    Daniel Leal-olivas / PA WIRE

    Protesters chant "no more lies, no more hate, we are the 48" as #marchforeurope reaches Westminster.

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    Eagle: Onus is on Corbyn to "do the right thing for the country".

    Pa / PA WIRE

    Angela Eagle and Jeremy Corbyn on the front bench, in happier times.

    Former shadow business secretary Angela Eagle was widely expected to formally challenge Jeremy Corbyn for the Labour leadership on Friday.

    However, the week ended and no challenge came, with BBC News reporting the shadow cabinet Corbyn appointed to replace those who quit are now drawing up a plan for the leader to "retire with dignity".

    There is also still a chance that former work and pensions secretary Owen Smith will launch a leadership bid.

    Speaking outside her home in London on Saturday, Eagle said the ball was firmly in Corbyn's court.

    "I think it's all about Jeremy considering his position at this moment, and I don't think speculation about anything else is useful," she told Sky News.

    "Let's just concentrate on Jeremy doing the right thing for the party and the country. I said before he should resign, he's lost the confidence of the party, he's losing confidence in the party. And let's face it the country's in crisis, and we need strong opposition."

    Stefan Rousseau / PA WIRE

    Corbyn meanwhile seemed relaxed while attending a rally in his Islington constituency.

    Jeremy Corbyn's Snapchat is back back back. He doesn't post in moments of crisis so looking bad for Labour rebels.

    In addition, several #KeepCorbyn rallies are taking place today, in Leeds, Liverpool and Hull.

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    Iain Duncan Smith has thrown his support behind pro-Brexit Andrea Leadsom in the Conservative leadership campaign.

    Neil Hall / Reuters

    Duncan Smith said he had "huge confidence" in his fellow Leave campaigner's "ability to achieve objectives even against considerable odds," according to the BBC.

    The former work and pension secretary praised Leadsom's "strong family background, business experience, compassion, commitment to social justice and dedication will make her a great prime minister for the UK".

    The endorsement from Duncan Smith makes him one of 21 MPs to back the energy minister for Tory leader, and therefore prime minister.

    Leading the contest is home secretary Theresa May, who currently has the backing of 96 Tory MPs, while work and pensions secretary Stephen Crabb has 22, Liam Fox has 10, and justice secretary Michael Gove has 18, according to a count by the BBC as of 6pm last night.

    Stefan Rousseau / PA WIRE

    Andrea Leadsom (right) campaigning to leave the EU with Gisela Stuart and Boris Johnson.

    In light of May's strong lead, business minister Anna Soubry has suggested it would simplify the process of finding a new Conservative leader if other candidates were simply to stand down, rather than have the party's membership vote on the two MPs with the greatest support.

    "It would be best if the candidates among themselves could just back one person and then we can get on with it. This uncertainty — for this to drag on till September — is not great for our country," Soubry told LBC on Friday night.

    But in an interview with The Telegraph on Saturday, Leadsom questioned whether May, who backed David Cameron's Remain campaign, was the correct person to lead a country who had voted in favour of Brexit.

    "I think it's very difficult for somebody who doesn't agree with that, who is reluctantly following the wishes of the people. I think it's quite hard for them to really see the opportunities," Leadsom said.

    "I genuinely believe that if we want to make a go of it then we need somebody who believes in it." UK news reporter Laura Silver reports.

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    Labour councillors are engulfed in a major row over an open letter calling on Jeremy Corbyn to resign.

    Organisers claim that over 600 Labour councillors – around one in 10 of Britain's total – have now signed the statement demanding fresh leadership.

    But a number of apparent signatories have complained that their names should not be on the list and that they actually do back Corbyn.

    The Labour leader is under mounting pressure to resign after MPs resigned en masse from his shadow cabinet and he lost a motion of no confidence.

    In his defence, a pro-Corbyn letter, published on LabourList, said: "It would be utterly self-defeating for the people we represent if now, less than a year after Jeremy was elected on the single biggest mandate of any previous leader, he was to be forced from office."

    That led to the release of an anti-Corbyn letter on Thursday – signed at that point by over 500 councillors – calling on him to resign and "make way for new leadership".

    Ed Davie, who created the letter calling for Corbyn to resign, told BuzzFeed News he had sent out a blanket email to all Labour councillors outlining the public statement calling for Corbyn's resignation, with a button below for them to click if they wanted to sign it.

    Davie blamed an "organised campaign" by Momentum, the grassroots group of Corbyn supporters, to try and "discredit the letter because it doesn't fit in with their agenda".

    Senior political correspondent Emily Ashton reports.

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    Boris Johnson on state of the country: "Seems absolutely fine to me."

    Boris Johnson is doorstepped and questioned about Michael Gove and the future of Britain https://t.co/gu0JwzGtLc

    The former frontrunner for the PM's role was questioned as he left his London home.

    Johnson, whose leadership bid was derailed by justice secretary Michael Gove's decision to also stand yesterday, said: "I cannot, unfortunately, get on with doing what I wanted to do, so it will be up to someone else now."

    The Conservative MP also refused to be drawn by a heckler who ran alongside him shouting that he had abandoned the UK and left the country in a state.

    "Nonsense," Johnson replied. "Seems absolutely fine to me."

    It is his first appearance since the dramatic moment shortly before midday yesterday when he announced that he would not stand for the Conservative leadership. Once seen as the pre-emptive frontrunner to replace David Cameron, he was unexpectedly caught out by Gove's last-minute announcement that he would be standing. Previously, Gove had repeatedly made assurances that he would not now, nor ever, seek the leadership of the Conservatives.

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    Every contender for the Conservative leadership has now formally declared – here is a summary of where each stands.

    Afp / AFP/Getty Images
    Getty
    Afp / AFP/Getty Images
    Getty

    The frontrunners are justice secretary Michael Gove and home secretary Theresa May.

    They were on opposing sides during the referendum campaigns. May was a Remain supporter but quiet about it and Gove a leading figure on the official Leave side. Both have subsequently said the results of the referendum must be respected.

    Gove had not been expected to stand in the leadership contest, and until yesterday morning was widely anticipated to throw his weight behind the nominative face of the Leave campaign, former London mayor Boris Johnson. Following Gove's dramatic last minute decision to run, there has been speculation that his standing among his fellow MPs has fallen. As of Friday morning, 18 MPs have publicly declared their support, according to The Spectator. Chief among them is education secretary Nicky Morgan.

    May, meanwhile, has already gathered 77 MPs to her camp, again according to The Spectator. Touted as the candidate best seen as a safe pair of hands, the home secretary gave an assured announcement speech on Thursday in which she said she would build on David Cameron's "one nation Conservative party". Perhaps crucially, May has already received the endorsement of the Daily Mail, a newspaper Gove's wife, the Mail columnist Sarah Vine, appeared to indicate would back Gove ahead of Boris.

    The other three candidates are work and pensions secretary Stephen Crabb, who's running alongside business secretary Sajid Javid; energy secretary Andrea Leadsom; and former defence minister Liam Fox.

    Crabb has reportedly managed to gather 23 MPs to his camp, and his pitch has been discussed as the "blue collar" bid on account of his emphasis on working values. Leadsom, who is perhaps best known for her role on finance and Treasury select committee hearings, has 15 backing her. And Fox, who was forced to resign in disgrace in 2011 and holds the record for the largest parliamentary expenses, has the support of nine MPs.

    Meanwhile, over in the Labour party, leader Jeremy Corbyn continues to refuse to resign and shadow chancellor John McDonnell again expressed his support for him this morning.

    Eamonn M. Mccormack / Getty Images

    MPs Angela Eagle and Owen Smith are being discussed as potential challengers to Corbyn's leadership – but it remains unclear when, or if, either will announce.

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    Michael Gove has formally pitched for the leadership of the Conservative party following his spectacular backstabbing of former ally Boris Johnson yesterday.

    "I am running in this leadership contest for one reason," he said: in order to allow the UK "to embrace the opportunity for change with courage and conviction".

    The justice secretary, who campaigned for Leave, was introduced by ally Nick Boles on Friday morning. In an unfortunate move, his team's timing put broadcasters in the position of having to cut away from the Somme memorial services in France to his speech in London.

    Addressing the reasons for his dramatic leadership bid – which followed months and months of denial that he was interested in the top job – Gove said: "I did not want it.

    "I did almost everything I could not be the candidate for the leadership of this party.

    "I was so very reluctant because I know my limitations. Whatever charisma is I don't have it, whatever glamour may be, I don't think anyone could ever associate me with it."

    Gove's pitch essentially: I've always wanted us to leave the EU, vote for me and (unlike others) I won't hesitate to take us out of the EU.

    "The best person to lead Britain out," says Gove, "is someone who argued to get Britain out of the European Union."

    On policy, Gove addressed a number of key campaign points – including immigration and funding for the NHS.

    He said he would deliver on the pledge to "bring down" immigration numbers. "I will end free movement, introduce an Australian-style points-based system for immigration," he said.

    Addressing the claims by the Leave campaign during the referendum, notably that of £350 million extra funding for the NHS every week, Gove promised to "take all the steps necessary to give the NHS at least another £100 million per week by 2020".

    The controversial figure of £350m has already been partially retracted by other Leave campaigners from both official and unofficial campaigns. But when asked about the figure in questions following his speech, Gove said he would stand by it and that it was a gross figure.

    "I don't take back anything I said in that campaign," he told the BBC's Nick Wyatt.

    On Article 50, Gove said he had no expectation of it being triggered by the end of the year. He did not suggest a timetable for the decision at all.

    There depth and length of his speech raised a few questions for some reporters covering the event.

    Impressed Michael Gove can put together a 4,913 word policy-packed speech when he apparently wasn't going to stand until Wednesday night.

    Political editor Jim Waterson reports.

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    Labour MP Lisa Nandy has reiterated that she has no intention to run for her party's leadership.

    Ben Pruchnie / Getty Images

    Lisa Nandy, a Labour MP on the "soft left" of the party, has reasserted that she will not stand in a leadership campaign after it emerged that someone has registered the URL "lisa4leader.org".

    The domain was bought yesterday evening, according to online records, prompting suggestions that Nandy could be preparing a leadership challenge.

    But in a tweet on Friday she rejected that she plans to mount a challenge against Jeremy Corbyn and said "someone's playing silly buggers".

    Someone's playing sillybuggers.If you registrd https://t.co/X1pOFuSbD0, not going to happen & pls stop messing about.These are serious times

    It's unclear who registered the domain as the owner has chosen to keep their information private.

    Nandy, who resigned from the shadow cabinet four days ago, has been touted as a figure who could unify the party's MPs in a leadership contest against Corbyn but has previously ruled herself out.

    The embattled Corbyn has continued to insist that he will not stand down as leader and two Labour MPs, Angela Eagle and Owen Smith, are now preparing their own candidacies.

    It was believed that Eagle, who resigned as business secretary on Monday, would put forward a formal leadership challenge to Corbyn yesterday but she delayed the decision to give the Labour leader the chance to step down himself.

    Political correspondent Siraj Datoo reports.

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    John McDonnell, speaking in London's Southbank, directly addressed reports from the home secretary – and Tory leadership frontrunner – Theresa May that the status of EU citizens in the UK would depend on negotiations with the EU.

    "We're not that kind of people," McDonnell told reporters. In the speech, broadly focussed on the economy post-Brexit, the shadow chancellor indicated that the Labour party's red lines would be access to the single market and protecting the rights of EU nationals in the UK.

    He went on to say that workers' right could not be "watered down" following Brexit.

    McDonnell also criticised the spate of racists attacks witnessed across Britain following the momentous decision to leave the EU.

    "It's been a quiet week in politics," John McDonnell jokes as he kicks off speech on impact of Brexit

    Shadow chancellor John McDonnell sought to play down the turmoil engulfing Labour at a press conference in London.

    He appealed to disaffected MPs, many of whom have resigned en masse from Jeremy Corbyn's shadow cabinet, to "calm down" and let the opposition "do our job".

    McDonnell said he expected any leadership challenge to happen "in the next few days" and that Corbyn would automatically be on the ballot paper and he would be his campaign manager.

    "I think he will win but you can never predict these things, it's a democratic election," he added.

    Around 60,000 people have joined Labour in the last week, which McDonnell said proved that Corbyn was still boosting party membership. But critics claim that many of the new members have joined to vote against him in a new contest.

    The shadow chancellor said the spate of resignations from Labour's front bench was "really disappointing" – and praised those who had stepped up to take their place as the "heroes and heroines of our movement".

    And he denied ever wanting to be Labour leader. "The stories that went round a few weeks ago, that I was building a plot to oust Jeremy and replace him – this week the story is I'm forcing him to stay.

    "They've got to get this right somewhere along the line. So let me make it absolutely clear: I will never stand for leader of the Labour party."

    McDonnell says he found the mass shadow front bench resignations "really disappointing". He is sad rather than angry. Applause from crowd.

    Senior political correspondent Emily Ashton reports.

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    Liam Fox has called for "Brexit for grownups" and criticised the political manoeuvring of the past days.

    Jack Taylor / Getty Images

    The former defence secretary, who was forced to resign in 2011, appeared on Radio 4's Today programme to discuss his leadership bid.

    Fox was one of the first Conservatives to pitch for the leadership position, and will face off against frontrunner Theresa May, Andrea Leadsom, and secretary of work and pensions Stephen Crabb. Yesterday, Westminster was thrown by the unexpected withdrawal of former London mayor Boris Johnson from the race, shortly after his erstwhile supporter and fellow Leave campaigner Michael Gove announced his bid.

    Fox described the current machinations as the the politics of the "Oxford Union" and said the scheming was simply a "distraction" from the bigger issue of Brexit.

    He told the BBC:

    We are now 10 weeks away from having a new prime minister, we're in the process of electing a prime minister who will actually take us out of the European Union, and yet we seem to be permanently distracted by what can only be described as the politics of the Oxford Union in recent days.

    I think it was a distraction, we need Brexit for grownups and we need to be talking about the big issues.

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    Gove on leadership bid coup: "There were a number of people who said to me: 'Michael, it should be you.'"

    Gove has said he "reluctantly" came to the conclusion that he was the person to lead the Conservatives only late last night, following a day of dramatic political upheaval.

    The justice secretary, who was a prominent Leave campaigner and had said he would fully support Boris Johnson's leadership bid, announced this morning he intended to seek the leadership of the Tory party. His announcement effectively derailed Johnson's, and the former London mayor unexpectedly ruled himself out for the role.

    But, Gove told the BBC in his first interview since the announcement, he had come to the conclusion that Johnson was incapable of uniting the country and the party to lead them through Brexit.

    "There were a number of people who had said to me in the course of the week, 'Michael, it should be you,'" he said.

    Michael Gove: "there were a number of people who had said to me: 'Michael, it should be you'" #ToryLeadership

    "I felt we needed someone to lead this country who believed heart and soul in leaving the European Union," he said.

    "I also believed we needed someone who would be able to build a team, lead and unite. I hoped that person would be Boris Johnson.

    "I came in the last few days reluctantly and firmly to the conclusion that while Boris has great attributes he was not capable of uniting that team and leading the party and the country in the way that I would have hoped."

    Gove suggests to BBC he didn't trust the "amazing and impressive" Boris to make good on pledge to take Britain out of the EU.

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    Corbyn has sent out a statement to Labour party members asking them for their continued support.

    It follows the latest resignations from his front bench and comes amid continued calls for his resignation. The full text of the letter reads:

    United we stand, divided we fall is one of the oldest and truest slogans of the Labour movement.

    After last week's referendum, our country faces major challenges. Risks to the economy and living standards are growing. The public is split.

    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 elected leader of our party, for a new kind of politics, by 60% of Labour members and supporters. The need for that different approach now is greater than ever.

    Our people need Labour Party members, trade unionists and MPs to unite. As leader it is my continued commitment to dedicate our party's activity to that goal.

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    The Labour resignations have continued. Latest: Rob Marris, shadow minister to the Treasury.

    And it goes on, Rob Marris quits as shadow Treasury minister.

    He reportedly resigned during the finance bill committee hearing. Appointed to the post by Corbyn in September 2015, Marris was one of the few remaining Labour MPs on the original shadow front bench who had not yet resigned. More than 50 have tendered their resignation – some a mere few hours after they were appointed – in a wave of dissatisfaction with Corbyn's leadership.

    The Labour leader has continued to refuse to resign, despite a motion carried by more than 80% of his MPs calling on him to do so.

    However, there are some politicians who remain loyal to Corbyn.

    Three Labour members of the Scottish parliament (MSPs) have written a letter backing "the democratically elected leader".

    Neil Findlay, MSP Lothian; Richard Leonard, MSP Central Scotland; and Alex Rowley, MSP Mid Scotland and Fife and deputy leader of the Scottish party; have urged other members to respect the wishes of the party members and support Corbyn.

    "Labour party members are not passive onlookers to be used and exploited at election time, only to be ignored thereafter – they are the lifeblood of our party, we are nothing without them," they write.

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    Former deputy prime minister Lord Heseltine has launched into a searing attack on Boris Johnson over his failure to run in the Tory leadership race.

    Heseltine told BBC Radio 5 Live that Johnson has "ripped the party apart" and "created the greatest constitutional crisis of modern times". He went on to liken the former mayor of London to a general who goes into battle but "the moment he sees the battleground he abandons it".

    Christopher Furlong / Getty Images

    Heseltine at the Conservative party conference, 2015.

    I think there will be a profound sense of dismay and frankly contempt. He's ripped the party apart. He's created the greatest constitutional crisis of modern times. He's knocked billions off the nation's savings. He's like a general that led his army to the sound of guns and at the sight of the battlefield, abandoned the field.

    I have never seen so contemptible and irresponsible a situation. He must live with the shame of what he has done.

    Boris Johnson is the one who won the referendum – without him it wouldn't have happened, without him there wouldn't be this uncertainty and he's abandoned the field.

    Breaking news editor Francis Whittaker and senior political correspondent Emily Ashton report.

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    The leader of the Labour party has been reported to the party's compliance unit after he appeared to compare the actions of the Israeli government with that of the terrorist organisation ISIS.

    Jeremy Corbyn was speaking at the launch of the party's report into anti-Semitism and racism on Thursday, carried out by Shami Chakrabarti, the former head of the human rights group Liberty.

    The report said that "epithets such as 'Paki', 'Zio' and others should have no place in Labour party discourse".

    At the event, Corbyn said that there was no room for anti-Semitism in the party.

    "Our Jewish friends are no more responsible for the actions of Israel or the [Binyamin] Netanyahu government than our Muslim friends are for those of self-styled Islamic states or organisations," he added.

    The Labour leader was immediately criticised and one Labour supporter reported Corbyn to the party's compliance unit, which implements the party's rules, for his remarks.

    "Until recently I wanted him gone just because I thought he was incompetent – now I think he's also dangerous, and not just to the future of the Labour Party," party supporter Richard Lowe told BuzzFeed News. "If he stands again, it'll be effectively a vote between Corbyn or Labour.

    Responding to the news that the party leader had been reported, a Labour source told BuzzFeed News: "I don't know what would happen next. It's completely unprecedented."

    When asked if he was drawing a direct comparison between the Israeli government and ISIS, Corbyn said: “Of course I’m not.”

    In the hours since the press conference, a Jewish Labour MP who left in tears after a separate incident has since released a powerful statement condemning the Labour leader and his handling of the situation.

    MP Ruth Smeeth walked out of the launch event after she was accused by an activist with grassroots organisation Momentum of "working hand-in-hand" with a journalist.

    Following the press conference, Smeeth said in a statement she walked out because the activist used "traditional antisemitic slurs to attack me for being part of a 'media conspiracy'."

    She added that although she hasn't criticised Corbyn in the past, his failure to respond effectively meant that she can no longer support him.

    "People like this have no place in our party or our movement and must be opposed. Until today I had made no public comment about Jeremy's ability to lead our party, but the fact that he failed to intervene is final proof for me that he is unfit to lead, and that a Labour Party under his stewardship cannot be a safe space for British Jews. I have written to the General Secretary of the Labour Party and the Chair of the Parliamentary Labour Party to formally complain about this morning's events." "No-one from the Leader's office has contacted me since the event, which is itself a catastrophic failure of leadership. I call on Jeremy Corbyn to resign immediately and make way for someone with the backbone to confront racism and antisemitism in our party and in the country."

    Political correspondent Siraj Datoo reports.

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    Andrea Leadsom has said that the next PM must be someone who can “deliver” on the promise of the referendum result.

    "I genuinely believe the next leader needs to be someone who sees the opportunity of leaving the EU and who is completely determined to deliver on what the people have told us to do," she told Sky News.

    The energy minister, who announced her candidacy amid a morning of intense political upheaval in the Conservative party, has been the MP for South Northamptonshire since May 2010 and has served on both the public accounts and Treasury select committees in Westminster.

    She continued: "We have to now deliver all of the huge advantages of trading with the 92% of people in the world who aren't in the EU."

    She added: "The next leader has to be someone who will deliver on the promise of the referendum because they can see the huge advantages and they believe in them."

    On the political turmoil from this morning, she described herself as "absolutely bowled over".

    "I so enjoyed working with Boris and Michael on the campaign," she said. "I'm really disappointed."

    She went on to say: "I don't talk about betrayal. Michael is a just brilliant person, and no one can be in any doubt that he was doing the right thing for the country."

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    Following Johnson's decision not to stand, the candidates for the Tory leadership are: Theresa May, Michael Gove, Stephen Crabb, Andrea Leadsom, and Liam Fox.

    Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images
    Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images

    Home secretary May announced this morning, shortly after justice secretary Gove made the shock announcement he was also running.

    The work and pensions secretary made his bid for the leadership yesterday, promising to run on a joint ticket with the business, innovation and skills secretary Sajid Javid. Late yesterday, former minister Fox also threw his hat into the ring.

    The Conservative leadership deadline to submit candidacy papers has now closed.

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    Boris Johnson has made a dramatic exit from the Tory leadership race just two hours after his fellow Leave campaigner Michael Gove announced his own surprise bid.

    The former London mayor was long tipped as the successor to David Cameron and had gathered journalists at a press conference on Thursday, supposedly to launch his campaign.

    But 10 minutes into a rambling speech about the leader required to steer Britain post Brexit, Johnson dropped his bombshell: "Having consulted colleagues and in view of the circumstances in Parliament, I have concluded that person cannot be me."

    There was an audible gasp of surprise from both reporters and his MP supporters at the event in St Ermin's Hotel, central London. Journalists shouted "Who are you backing?", but Johnson walked straight out after his speech without taking questions.

    .@BorisJohnson says the next Conservative party leader "cannot be me" https://t.co/FA9byvkeUa

    This is the end of Johnson's speech, where he announces he will not be running.

    That is the agenda for the next prime minister of this country.

    Well, I must tell you, my friends, you who have waited faithfully for the punchline of this speech, that having consulted colleagues and in view of the circumstances in parliament, I have concluded that person cannot be me.

    My role will be to give every possible support to the next Conservative administration to make sure that we properly fulfil the mandate of the people that was delivered at the referendum and to champion the agenda that I believe in, to stick up for the forgotten people of this country.

    And, if we do so, if we invest in our children and improve their life chances, if we continue to fuel the engines of social mobility, if we build on the great reforming legacy of David Cameron, if we invest in our infrastructure and we follow a sensible, one nation Conservative approach that is simultaneously tax-cutting and pro-enterprise, then I believe that this country can win and be better and more wonderful and, yes, greater than ever before.

    Johnson's withdrawal came just a couple of hours after Gove, who had been assumed to be Johnson's "dream team" running mate, sent shockwaves around Westminster by releasing a statement announcing his leadership bid – saying frankly that he did not have confidence in Johnson.

    It means there are five Tory leadership candidates: justice secretary Gove, home secretary Theresa May, work and pensions secretary Stephen Crabb, energy minister Andrea Leadsom and ex-defence secretary Liam Fox.

    Senior political correspondent Emily Ashton reports.

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    Alexander has just accused John McDonnell of undermining her role as shadow health secretary by conducting secret meetings without her.

    Alexander, who resigned as shadow health secretary on Sunday following the sacking of shadow foreign secretary Hilary Benn, along with a host of other Labour MPs, made the accusation on Thursday.

    Exposing further discontent in the Labour party, she said McDonnell had invited NHS campaigners to a meeting in the Commons without inviting her – a highly unusual move considering Alexander was in charge of Labour health policy.

    The exchange followed an article by Andy Cowper on the policy analysis site Health Policy Insight within which he quoted sources saying she had been excluded from "semi-secret" meetings.

    Alexander backed up Cowper's story with a series of tweets on Thursday. And said it wasn't the first time it had happened.

    News reporter Sara Spary reports.

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    Nicky Morgan has confirmed she will not be running for the Conservative leadership.

    Carl Court / Getty Images

    Like health secretary Jeremy Hunt, Morgan had been among those considering a leadership bid. Both have now confirmed they will not stand.

    Instead, the education secretary has said she will back Michael Gove, who explosively announced his leadership bid first thing on Thursday morning.

    This is the full text of Morgan's decision, published on her website on Thursday morning:

    Over the past week it has become clear just how divided our nation is - between young and old, north and south and those with different education and work backgrounds.

    So it is clear to me that the next leader of the Conservative Party must be someone who can unite the country, who can heal the wounds that the referendum exposed but also, and I think this is what we must not lose sight of, present a confident, positive and optimistic platform for our country's future in which this Party appeals to the centre ground of British politics.

    It is equally important that we now secure the right deal for Britain – and the next leader must have the skill and credibility to put together the right team to renegotiate our exit from and future relationship with Europe and explain the final terms to the British people.

    Having spent the past week talking to colleagues in Parliament, party members and constituents I have concluded unequivocally that the right person to do that is Michael Gove and I am delighted to be endorsing his candidacy today."

    Jeremy Hunt has said he will back home secretary Theresa May's bid for the PM's role. May also announced this morning.

    Gove's nomination papers appeared have appeared online:

    Here are Michael Gove's nomination papers. Proposed by Nicky Morgan, seconded by Dom Raab https://t.co/hsfmn85TJn

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    Theresa May: "I think I'm the best person to be prime minister."

    Peter Macdiarmid / Getty Images

    Commons leader Chris Grayling introduced May, saying she would build on Cameron's legacy of a "one nation Conservative party".

    May promptly made clear that she would not introduce an emergency Budget in the wake of Brexit, would not invoke Article 50 before the end of the year, and would not call a general election before 2020.

    "Following last week's referendum, our country needs strong leadership to steer us through this period of economic and political uncertainty and to negotiate the best possible terms as we leave the EU." May told a packed room at the Royal United Services Institute on Whitehall. In attendance were Tory MPs including Sir Alan Duncan, international development secretary Justine Greening, David Cameron's parliamentary aide Gavin Williamson, and former cabinet minister Maria Miller.

    "We need leadership that can unite our party and our country," she said, adding: "We need a country that works not just for the privileged few but for every one of us."

    And she made several swipes at her rival Boris Johnson, first by warning that politics was not a game. "If you are from an ordinary working-class family, life is just much harder than many people in politics realise.

    "Frankly, not everybody in Westminster understands what it's like to live like this and some need to be told that it isn't a game. It's a serious business that has real consequences for people's lives.

    "I know some politicians seek high office because they are driven by ideological fervour. I know others seek it for reasons of ambition or glory.

    "My reasons are much simpler. I grew up the daughter of a local vicar and the granddaughter of a regimental sergeant major. Public service has been a part of who I am for as long as I can remember.

    "I know I'm not a showy politician, I don't tour the TV studios, I don't gossip about people over lunch, I don't go drinking in parliament's bars. I don't often wear my heart on my sleeve. I just get on with the job in front of me."

    Senior political correspondent Emily Ashton reports.

    May was greeted with an incredibly warm reception, with two ovations throughout her speech.

    Tory MPs leap to their feet with huge applause when May walks into the room - it's packed, real buzz

    She also landed a swipe at Boris Johnson that went down very well with her audience.

    Theresa May: "last time @BorisJohnson did a deal with the Germans he came back with three nearly new water cannon" https://t.co/tN2KQlxMMg

    Having announced her leadership in both a Times column and a Facebook statement on Thursday morning, May is already being touted as the compromise candidate as Boris Johnson and Michael Gove look set to battle it out.

    Posted at

    Some 539 Labour councillors have signed a letter asking Jeremy Corbyn to stand down from the leadership.

    The open letter was published on the LabourList website. The councillors claim to be drawn from "a number of traditions within our movement," including people who voted for Corbyn in the 2015 leadership campaign.

    As Labour councillors we support the recent call from colleagues for new leadership at the top of our party. Jeremy Corbyn is an honourable man with a record of public service stretching back more than four decades, not least in local government. We are drawn from a number of traditions within our movement, including those who voted for Jeremy last year. It has now become clear, however, that he is unable to command the confidence of the whole party nor of many traditional Labour supporters we speak with on the doorstep. Our country is facing a crisis – and the neighbourhoods we represent are on the front line. We urge Jeremy Corbyn to make way for the new leadership that our communities so desperately need.

    A similar letter was issued by 240 councillors in support of Corbyn yesterday, although some councillors appeared to have signed that letter twice.

    Posted at

    Justice secretary and chief Leave campaigner Michael Gove has announced he will "reluctantly" run for the leadership of the Conservative party, saying Boris Johnson "cannot provide the leadership" the country needs.

    Gove was widely expected to back former London mayor and his announcement comes as a shock after he repeatedly denied that he wants to be prime minister.

    "I respect and admire all the candidates running for the leadership. In particular, I wanted to help build a team behind Boris Johnson so that a politician who argued for leaving the European Union could lead us to a better future," said Gove in a statement.

    "But I have come, reluctantly, to the conclusion that Boris cannot provide the leadership or build the team for the task ahead."

    There are suggestions Gove's candidacy will reduce support for Johnson and provide fuel for home secretary Theresa May's leadership bid.

    Within minutes of Gove’s announcement, culture secretary Ed Vaizey tweeted that he will back the justice secretary.

    Agonising on who to back for leadership. Gove has made my mind up. #GoGove #TeamGove

    Political correspondent Siraj Datoo reports.

    Almost simultaneously, Andrea Leadsom also announced her candidacy for the Conservative leadership.

    Delighted to say I'm running for the @Conservatives Leadership. Let's make the most of the Brexit opportunities! #FreshStart

    Posted at

    Jeremy Corbyn insists he won't quit.

    Niklas Halle'n / AFP / Getty Images

    Jeremy Corbyn has insisted he has no intention of quitting as Labour leader and told a crowd of his supporters that he would be "carrying on" in control of the party, as his team prepare for a leadership challenge.

    He told a crowd outside SOAS university in central London that he would fight on despite losing the support of almost the entire Labour parliamentary party, former Labour leaders, the current leader of Scottish Labour, and some of his economic advisers.

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    Labour MP Jon Ashworth is remaining in the shadow cabinet in order to retain his position on the party's national executive committee ahead of the expected leadership contest, a senior Labour source has told BuzzFeed News.

    Rui Vieira / PA WIRE

    Ashworth in 2011

    Ashworth, shadow minister without portfolio, is one of only three Labour MPs in the shadow cabinet who are not obvious Corbyn loyalists. Questions had been raised about why he was remaining when most of his natural allies have quit.

    One former shadow cabinet minister said it was partly because Ashworth could then report back on what happened in the meetings, but more crucially so he could maintain one of the three positions on Labour's ruling NEC currently reserved for shadow cabinet ministers. The organisation is expected to be crucial in controlling the shape of the party and its internal battles in the coming months.

    The other two NEC slots are held by Angela Eagle, who resigned on Monday so is expected to lose her place as a result of quitting the shadow cabinet, and Rebecca Long-Bailey.

    Aside from Ashworth, the other two non-Corbynites in the shadow cabinet are chief whip Rosie Winterton, who is unlikely to quit, and shadow home secretary Andy Burnham, who is fighting to get the Labour nomination for mayor of Manchester.

    Ashworth did not respond to BuzzFeed News' request for comment.

    Political editor Jim Waterson reports.

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    Tom Watson has confirmed he will not run for the Labour leadership, but has said he's attempting to negotiate Corbyn's departure – with little success.

    Gareth Fuller / PA WIRE

    Watson confirmed he will not stand for the leadership and said the Labour party was heading towards a leadership battle.

    In an interview with the BBC, Watson apologised to the country for "the mess they are seeing in Westminster right now".

    He said he had spent the past week attempting to negotiate a path through the mess, but admitted he had been unable to change his leader's mind. "I went to see Jeremy today to see if we could find a way of getting a negotiated settlement, but he was unwilling to move from the position we're in. So we're still in an impasse I'm afraid."

    "I just think he feels very strongly he has that mandate from the members," Watson said of Corbyn's refusal to resign. "He's obviously been told to stay by his close ally John McDonnell and they're a team and they've decided that they're going to tough this out, so it looks like the Labour party is heading for some form of contested election."

    He declined to comment whether Angela Eagle would run for the leadership. Instead, he urged Labour party members to consider a candidate who could be seen as a prime minister.

    "It's a very different question, and it's a very serious and reasonable thing that our members have to do because there are millions of people out there who need a Labour government," he said.

    Watson says he's been trying to reach a 'negotiated settlement' today to persuade COrbyn to go

    Watson tells me he believes it's John McDonnell who is preventing Corbyn from quitting

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    In Conservative news, Liam Fox has officially thrown his hat into the ring for the Tory leadership.

    Dan Kitwood / Getty Images

    Former defence secretary Liam Fox confirmed to LBC Radio that he would stand for the Tory leadership. He said he would formally announce his bid on Thursday morning, before nominations close at noon.

    Fox, a pro-Leave MP who has been on the back benches since 2011 following a lobbying scandal, laughed off claims that he had spoken to home secretary Theresa May about a possible joint bid. "I've also had a cup of tea with Stephen Crabb this afternoon so it's only a matter of time before I throw my hat in with him," he joked.

    Highlighting his long experience in parliament, Fox said he wanted to make sure Britain was a "meritocracy" where everyone could do well no matter their background. "I grew up in a council house and went to a comprehensive school," he said. "We do need to understand the concept of opportunity."

    Senior political correspondent Emily Ashton reports.

    Posted at

    Corbyn's office have circulated a message from allegedly 240 local councillors in support of the Labour leader.

    Matt Cardy / Getty Images

    A group of as many as 240 local councillors have seemingly written in support of Corbyn, and expressed how they are "dismayed" by the actions of the "self-indulgent" parliamentary Labour party.

    "It would be utterly self-defeating for the people we represent if now, less than a year after Jeremy was elected on the single biggest mandate of any previous leader, he was to be forced from office," the letter states.

    Calling the mounting cries, made across inner-Labour party lines, "self-indulgent" and "at odds" with what communities voted for, they warn that they will lose local support attracted by Corbyn's leadership should the crisis continue. The letter calls on the rebellious Labour MPs to "reflect" on their actions and redirect "their fire".

    "Our enemy is not Jeremy Corbyn – it is the Tory party and their plans to use the EU referendum as a fig leaf to inflict further cuts to the councils we represent," it adds.

    However, it appears that some names on the list of support appear twice.

    Quite a lot of councillors signed that pro-Corbyn letter of support. Some liked it so much they signed it twice.

    Posted at

    Ed Miliband has released a letter he sent to his constituents setting out his reasoning behind not supporting Corbyn.

    Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images

    "I have been loyal to Jeremy throughout his tenure as Leader. I resisted calls to speak out against him when he was running for the job and since he was elected. I have backed him 100%," he writes, in a letter published on his official Facebook page.

    "But my constituents and the country urgently need an effective, united Labour party to try and chart a progressive way forward for Britain after our exit from the European Union. We face grave economic risks and huge uncertainty. The situation has become untenable because the overwhelming majority of members of the Parliamentary party have lost confidence in him."

    Corbyn is still refusing to go, despite almost everyone – reportedly including his inner team – urging him to step down.

    The Labour leader's office claims Corbyn still commands the support of the majority of the grassroots of the party, and have criticised MPs for the so-called coup against him.

    And beneath Miliband's post, many people expressed their profound support for Corbyn – and disdain for the former Labour leader.

    That Ed Miliband letter has gone down well

    Earlier today, Miliband told the BBC's World at One that he was "reluctantly" calling for Corbyn to go.

    You can read Miliband's full letter, published on Facebook after his World at One interview, here.

    Posted at

    But Jeremy Corbyn continues to refuse to resign.

    Here's what happened when Jeremy Corbyn was asked about his leadership.

    Appearing very briefly in front of reporters earlier today, the Labour leader was asked about the leadership. Before he had the change to respond, an aide quite literally grabbed him by the lapels and dragged him away.

    Posted at

    Labour MEPs say they have “very serious” concerns with Corbyn leadership.

    Peter Macdiarmid / Getty Images

    The leader of Labour's MEPs, Glenis Wilmott, has become the latest to express dissatisfaction with Corbyn's leadership, and urge him to resign.

    In a letter written to Jeremy Corbyn and posted on Twitter, Wilmott writes that "it has become clear in recent days that you do not have the confidence of the Parliamentary Labour Party".

    It continues: "So it is with a heavy heart that we urge you, for the sake of the Labour Party and for the people in our country who need a Labour government, to reconsider your position as Labour leader."

    Wilmott says many of her MEPs were "simply astounded" to hear the news that on the day of the referendum result, an official Labour document promoted and praised the work of Leave campaigners Kate Hoey and Gisela Stuart. The letter contrasts the "loyal and dedicated teams of activists" from Labour's Remain camp with Stuart and Hoey, "who had been appearing for weeks alongside right-wing politicians, such as Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson".

    Exclusive: Labour MEPs call for Corbyn to resign.

    This is the "majority position" of the group but not unanimous.

    Posted at

    Meanwhile, the Conservatives have begun jostling to replace David Cameron.

    A number of MPs have been discussed as potential leadership contenders. At the forefront is obviously Boris Johnson, but Stephen Crabb, secretary of state for the department of work and pensions formally threw his hat into the ring today.

    Stephen Crabb has rejected claims that he is prejudiced against gay people as he launched a bid to be the next Tory leader and prime minister.

    In an interview with BuzzFeed News on Wednesday, the work and pensions secretary said he regretted the "sadness" and "hurt" he had caused with his vote against same-sex marriage in 2013.

    He also distanced himself from a Christian charity that once co-funded a conference focusing on "gay cure therapies" for "those struggling with unwanted same-sex attraction".

    Crabb is keen to present himself as the "One Nation" candidate who can unite Britain after last week's divisive referendum on the European Union. But for many people, his desire to cast himself as a moderniser is difficult to square with his stance on gay marriage.

    In a press conference earlier, he conceded he was the "underdog" in a leadership race that is also likely to include ex–London mayor Boris Johnson and home secretary Theresa May.

    But Crabb warned that the contest should not be a "two-horse race" between the "Boris/Stop Boris" candidates. He flagged up his working-class upbringing in Wales, saying he had a "fabulous education at a really good comprehensive school across the road from the council house where I lived".

    Senior political correspondent Emily Ashton reports.

    Posted at

    Ed Miliband calls for Corbyn to quit.

    Peter Macdiarmid / Getty Images

    Ed Miliband has this afternoon called for the Labour leader to resign, calling Corbyn's position "unsustainable" given the current national crisis.

    "I've reluctantly reached the conclusion that his position is untenable," the former Labour leader told the BBC's World At One programme. "I am not a plotter. I am someone who cares deeply about my party, deeply about my country and the causes that I think Jeremy and I care about.

    "I think the best thing on all those criteria is that he stands down, painful though that may be for him and all his supporters," he said.

    "We cannot have a party leader that 75% or more of the elected representatives in parliament don't have confidence in, that is an unsustainable position," Miliband said. "That is not ideological, that is just a fact of life."

    Should Corbyn continue to refuse to resign, Miliband added: "The question then for him [Corbyn] is what is the right thing for the country, and for the party, and for the causes he cares about."

    Until now Ed Miliband point blank refused to criticise Corbyn at all. Used to say he put up with abuse while leader and wouldn't join in.

    Posted at

    An usually subdued session of Prime Minister's Questions came to life when the prime minister urged the leader of the opposition to resign.

    "It might be in my party's interests for him [Corbyn] to sit there, it's not in the national interest," Cameron said, directly and passionately addressing the Labour leader across the dispatch box.

    "For heaven's sake, man, go!"

    David Cameron to Jeremy Corbyn: "For heavens sake man, go!" #pmqs

    You don't get many "wow" moments from #PMQs these days. Cam calling for Corbyn to go is definitely one.

    Political editor Jim Waterson reports.

    Posted at

    Harriet Harman has said Corbyn has "no right or mandate" to stay on as Labour leader.

    Dominic Lipinski / PA WIRE

    Harman says Corbyn "has failed" in a statement on her website.

    She goes on to say that "he has no right or mandate to stay in office despite his failure and take the party down with him". The strong statement continues: "Leading the party is a privilege not a right.

    "You earn the opportunity to lead by being elected, to lead the whole party, our voters, members, councillors and MPs. But winning the leadership election does not give you the right to continue in post if you fail."

    Should Corbyn stay, Harman writes, he will "he will be responsible for damage to the party on the gravest scale".

    The former Labour leader's momentous intervention finishes by stating that she has "no right to stand by and let our party collapse in disarray.

    "That is what has happened under Jeremy and that has to stop."

    I urge Jeremy corbyn to stand down as Labour leader. https://t.co/pJ092XEnXm

    Posted at

    Pat Glass has stood down from her "dream job" as shadow education secretary, labelling the current situation within the Labour party "untenable".

    Ian Forsyth / Getty Images

    We're into new territory now. Two days after being appointed to the shadow cabinet and describing it as her 'dream job," Pat Glass has resigned from her role as shadow education secretary.

    Glass only held the shadow cabinet position for 52 hours, seemingly making hers the shortest tenure in the role since Gillian Shepherd's 40 days in 1997.

    How on earth did we get here?

    More than 10 members of the shadow cabinet resigned in protest of Jeremy Corbyn's leadership on Sunday but his leadership team insisted that he would simply appoint new people to fill the roles.

    We're now on to our fourth day of continuous resignations from the Labour front bench, as well as ministerial aides, and Corbyn has had to issue two different sets of names for his new team.

    Now Glass, who was appointed to the education brief on Monday, has already quit the role, describing the situation as "untenable". The Centre for Opposition Studies reckons she probably holds the record for the shortest time in an opposition post before resigning.

    It is with a heavy heart that I have today resigned as Shadow SoS Education. My dream job but the situation is untenable

    Glass's decision comes only one day after she announced that she will stand down at the next general election because of a "divisive" referendum campaign.

    ♫ ♫ "Appointed to the shadow cabinet on Monday / Quit as an MP on Tuesday / We were resigning by Wednesday" ♫ ♫ https://t.co/VurkYgjUvV

    Almost simultaneously, Emma Lewell-Buck also said she would be resigning from her position on the front bench.

    Lewell-Buck, formerly shadow minister for communities and local government, said she was "heartbroken" at recent events.

    Today I'm stepping down as Shadow Minister heartbroken at state of Party & recent events so sorry things have came to this, statement later

    Political correspondent Siraj Datoo reports.

    Posted at

    John McDonnell has urged his party's MPs to "play by the rules" and called for an end to "nastiness" within the Labour ranks.

    Suzanne Plunkett / Reuters

    The shadow chancellor of the exchequer, speaking from outside his home Wednesday morning, accepted there would be a leadership contest but said Labour MPs needed to calm down.

    It follows a dramatic motion of no confidence in current leader Jeremy Corbyn last night in which 172 MPs voted against Corbyn. Despite near overwhelming desire for him to stand down among the parliamentary party, Corbyn – and those closest to him, including McDonnell – have remained defiant and said he will not stand down.

    "All we are saying to Labour MPs is play by the rules, play by the rules of our party, and if there is to be a democratic election, respect the wishes of our members," McDonnell said.

    "Our country is facing some real, serious risks at the moment. And we have got a job as MPs to come together to try and protect the people who might be affected by that."

    Posted at

    Following the resignation of Thomas Piketty earlier on Wednesday, the rest of Labour's economic advisory committee have released a statement on the ongoing crisis surrounding the party leadership.

    Economists Diane Elson, Mariana Mazzucato, Anastasia Nesvetailova, Ann Pettifor, and Simon Wren-Lewis said they were "unhappy that the Labour leadership had not campaigned more strongly" to remain in the European Union, but would be "honoured" to advise the party in the future, "should our advice be sought once the current situation is resolved". They said:

    In September 2015, we were pleased to accept the invitation to serve on an Economic Advisory Council (EAC). We felt strongly that it represented an opportunity to develop a vision of a progressive economic policy for Britain that departed from the destructive austerity narrative. Our collective view is that the EAC, and its various policy review groups, has indeed had a positive influence on the development of Labour's economic policy, and we hope it continues whatever the result of current divisions.

    We have always seen this body as providing advice to the Labour party as a whole, and not as an endorsement of particular individuals within it. For example we all share the view that the EU referendum result is a major disaster for the UK, and we have felt unhappy that the Labour leadership has not campaigned more strongly to avoid this outcome.

    We believe it is now crucial to find a way to resolve the economic and political impasse with the EU in a way that brings the least damage possible to the UK economy and those of our neighbours. We will be honoured to advise the Labour Party in the future, should our advice be sought once the current situation is resolved.

    Posted at

    The fallout from yesterday's events continues, with the SNP asking parliament to be recognised as the official opposition party.

    The Scottish National Party declared Labour a "crisis-ridden shambles" in the wake of recent events, according to The Times.

    Noting rules laid out in Erskine May, the parliamentary rulebook, that state that the opposition party must be "prepared ... to assume power", Pete Wishart, the SNP shadow Commons leader, told the newspaper that: "Following the loss of two-thirds of its shadow cabinet, it is clear that the Labour party fails this test."

    .@theSNP will raise a point of order after PMQs today & ask the Speaker to recognise them as HM official opposition, replacing Labour

    Criteria to be official opposition: statute + standing orders + convention (Erskine May). Parliament spox explains:

    Posted at

    In the latest blow to Corbyn, Thomas Piketty, a leading left-wing thinker, has also confirmed his departure as an adviser – and blasted the leader's office for a "very weak" referendum campaign.

    Eric Piermont / AFP / Getty Images

    Piketty, a world-recognised author and academic, was announced as a member of Corbyn's economic advisory council with much fanfare in September last year.

    The relationship was already on the rocks. The New Statesman reported in January of this year that despite the council supposedly meeting four times annually, only one meeting had been held – and Piketty had been absent.

    Piketty actually resigned from the council "a few weeks ago", according to Sky News, but has now confirmed his departure and spoken of his disappointment regarding the UK's decision to leave the EU.

    Yet more misery for Jeremy Corbyn: I learn Thomas Piketty, perhaps the world’s top left-wing thinker today, has quit as a Labour adviser

    Piketty told me: “I am deeply concerned with the Brexit vote, and with the very weak campaign of Labour”.

    Posted at

    Dame Margaret Beckett on Jeremy Corbyn: "He has to stand aside."

    Ben Pruchnie / Getty Images

    The former leader of the Labour party made an emotional plea for Corbyn to resign on the BBC's Today Programme.

    "Jeremy has no experience in being a leader," she said. "That's a whole area that was beyond him until he was elected leader. People were very willing to support him through that to see if he could have the same magic effect on the electorate as he did on the members."

    But, she said, although his "integrity" and "decency" were to be respected, "they don't in themselves make you a leader".

    "When you assume leadership the interests of those you lead come before your own and in those interests he has to stand aside," she said.

    Beckett, who described the Labour party as "like a family", went on to state: "Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would be casting a vote of no confidence in the leader of the Labour party."

    You can listen to the full interview on the BBC here.

    Yesterday, Beckett told a local newspaper it was "time" for Corbyn to go.

    She also went on to address the rumours that Corbyn's team had undermined the Remain camp, and had inadequately briefed their supporters.

    "He told the meeting that throughout the referendum campaign the leaders office put out material which contradicted the Labour campaign to remain in," she told the Derby Telegraph.

    She added: "They undermined the official campaign. That has been the experience of a lot of people with the leader's office for quite a considerable period of time now."

    Posted at

    Jeremy Corbyn's terrible week with his parliamentary party continues. Despite a thousands-strong rally of supporters on Monday night, the Labour leader still lost a confidence motion on Tuesday, with around 80% of MPs voting against him in a secret ballot.

    But what happens now?

    Firstly, the vote was entirely symbolic, so Corbyn will remain as leader – for now.

    Should MPs really want him out, the only formal way for them to oust a sitting leader under the Labour party's rules is for them to trigger a new leadership election. This can only be done by having MPs and MEPs nominate an alternative candidate to the current leader.

    To further complicate matters, no one appears quite sure of the rules governing a situation like this. The Labour guidelines are one paragraph long, and say "nominations may be sought by potential challengers". In practice, everyone is interpreting this to further their own objections.

    Should Corbyn get his name on the ballot, he certainly still has strong support among some Labour members and supporters, as his ability to muster a short-notice rally of thousands outside parliament on Monday testified. But it remains to be seen if this support base is as rock-solid as in 2015, when he swept to the Labour leadership victory.

    And how long will this take? Best guess is 12 weeks, until Labour's conference this year between 25 and 28 September.

    Special correspondent James Ball reports.

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    Jeremy Corbyn has lost a motion of no confidence.

    Rob Stothard / Getty Images

    A motion of no confidence in Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has been overwhelmingly backed by the party's MPs.

    Labour MPs took part in the secret ballot on Tuesday following an exodus from Corbyn's shadow cabinet in the wake of Britain voting to leave the European Union.

    Some 172 MPs voted in favour of the motion – three-quarters of the parliamentary Labour party – and only 40 backed the leader.

    The motion is not binding but it is likely to spark a leadership challenge against Corbyn, who only became leader in September.

    What a press release for Labour to have to send out

    Following the vote, Corbyn reiterated that he will not resign.

    "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. "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."

    Labour leadership team source following no confidence vote says "nothing changes" and it's "business as usual".

    Despite mass resignations from his front bench, Corbyn has refused to step down and his team are convinced he would win a fresh contest. They believe he has a huge mandate from 250,000 Labour voters and supporters after winning a landslide victory.

    It is not clear who would run against Corbyn as Labour leader but deputy leader Tom Watson and former shadow business secretary Angela Eagle are both being tipped as potential candidates.

    Scores of Labour MPs have written to Corbyn urging him to step down for the sake of the party, telling him they do not believe he has what it takes to win a snap general election in the wake of the Brexit vote. Many MPs have also cast doubt on whether he fought hard enough for Britain staying in the EU.

    In the minutes after the vote, three more shadow cabinet resignations occured and two junior ministers also resigned.

    Christina Rees, a shadow justice minister, Kevin Brennan, shadow business minister, and Lyn Brown are all understood to have resigned.

    I understand that there's another resignation. Christina Rees, a shadow justice minister, has quit her role.

    Shadow minister: "No-one disputes that Jeremy was elected by the members. But not for life. It isn't North Korea."

    Immediately after these resignations, Paul Blomfield, PPS foreign secretary, and Mary Glindon, PPS to the transport team, also resigned. They were followed by Clive Efford, who was one of the original 36 MPs who nominated Corbyn for the leadership in 2015.

    Senior political correspondent Emily Ashton and politics editor Jim Waterson report.

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    Pat Glass — who has just been appointed as shadow education secretary in Jeremy Corbyn's new team — has told her local party that she does not intend to contest her seat at the next election.

    I have informed my CLP Chair that whenever the next General Election takes place, I will not be Labour's candidate.

    North West Durham MP Glass tweeted a letter she sent to the chair of her constituency party informing him of her decision that said she had found the last six months "very, very difficult".

    Glass has previously said she received death threats during the EU referendum campaign, and that a family member had received a malicious email. She missed the count on police advice.

    In her letter, she said the referendum campaign was "incredibly divisive" for families and communities, and had been "bruising" for her and her family.

    At the time of issuing her letter, she had not yet had a full day in her shadow cabinet position.

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    MP Chris Evans has written a scathing letter urging Corbyn to stand down.

    My letter to Jeremy Corbyn urging him to resign

    In the letter, the MP for Islwyn, South Wales, says that since Corbyn's election as leader the unity of the Labour party has been "threatened" and that Corbyn's "conviction politics" is nothing more than "smoke and mirrors".

    "There is no courage of conviction in deceiving the people who follow you," he writes. "You have been totally lacklustre when it has come to the really big issues facing Britain and that simply isn't good enough for an opposition leader."

    He continues: "Your position is untenable. You must resign and make way for a new leader who can start to repair the damage that you have done."

    Earlier in the letter, he addresses claims that Corbyn's office failed to fully commit to campaigning for a Remain vote, telling him it amounts to a "total betrayal of the Labour Party and the British people who were looking to you for guidance".

    He also claims that Corbyn's supporters – in particular, those in Momentum – have attempted to "drive a deep wedge between Labour MPs and the grassroots". He expresses his disappointment in Corbyn's decision to address a crowd of "the extreme left" gathered outside parliament shortly after hearing from MP Ian Murray, whose office had reportedly been surrounded by Momentum members as a result of his decision to leave the shadow cabinet.

    Finally, he gets a swipe in at John McDonnell, writing that he believes the shadow chancellor "relishes seeing the party in disarray".

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    Jeremy Corbyn: "This seems like a bad idea."

    Facebook: video.php / Via news.sky.com

    A game of musical chairs has been spotted at Corbyn's first newly appointed shadow cabinet meeting, exclusive footage obtained by Sky News shows.

    "This seems like a bad idea," Corbyn says on the clip, flanked by deputy leader Tom Watson and junior MP Cat Smith. "Seumas, I'm not sure this is a great idea either."

    He and Seumas Milne, his head of communications, then have an inaudible exchange, before Corbyn says: "Are we going to get them [the cameras] to go or what? I don't think this is … I said this before we came in."

    Sky News

    The camera then cuts, and when it returns Corbyn is surrounded by new faces. Instead of Watson, who some have suggested may be canvassing for votes to take over from Corbyn as an interim leader, and Corbyn loyalist Smith, he is flanked by Corbyn's parliamentary aide, Steve Rotheram, and Emily Thornbury, who was recently promoted to shadow foreign secretary.

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    Meanwhile, Corbyn has chaired a meeting of his new shadow cabinet this morning.

    Half of the positions in Corbyn's shadow cabinet remain to be filled.

    Meanwhile, there was seemingly endless confusion as political reporters scrambled to make either head or tail of Corbyn's possible shadow cabinet. Rumours around Kelvin Hopkins, a Leave campaigner, were circulating as a possibility.

    Kelvin Hopkins, out campaigner, to be shadow DCMS Secretary

    Now told kelvin Hopkins isn't shadow Dcms - chaos!

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    Cooper, who came third of four in a failed leadership bid last summer, said: "I'm not ruling anything out, but I'm not standing here launching any campaign."

    But she made a strong call for Corbyn to "stand down swiftly", and said he would "be letting down Labour voters ... if he drags this out any longer".

    Speaking at the Centre for European Reform in London, she noted: "At a time when the world has changed, when an election is looming, I am very concerned that Jeremy Corbyn has no plan to reunite the Labour movement, no plan to respond to the deep and serious issues the referendum has thrown up, and no plan for a looming general election."

    She added: "We have a huge task to reunite Leave and Remain Labour voters and supporters in a progressive vision of Britain's future."

    Yvette Cooper: "Jeremy Corbyn cannot even fill a shadow cabinet... No alternative government, no alternative plan."

    Senior political correspondent Emily Ashton reports.

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    Alan Whitehead has resigned from Corbyn's front bench.

    Rex/Shutterstock

    Whitehead, who had been seen as a Corbyn supporter, said in his resignation letter that the leader was "not the right person to lead the opposition".

    He continued: "I hope for the sake of the Labour party, and the millions of Labour supporters and voters across the country, that you will seriously consider your position."

    The former shadow environment and climate change minister also wrote: "I cannot give you complete loyalty in this position and it would be dishonest of me to continue to occupy it."

    It is with great sadness that I have resigned as Shadow Energy and Climate Change Minister as of 11am today

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    Diane Abbott has condemned the "circus" around Corbyn's leadership and said there is a "very good chance" he will win.

    Mary Turner / Getty Images

    She condemned the MPs who have chosen to "unleash mayhem" during an incredibly turbulent period and said the party and the country would judge them badly.

    Abbott told BBC Radio 4: "It is really sad that colleagues are staging this circus. They don't want a leadership election because they are not certain of winning it, but that is what they will have to do.

    "Fleet Street and Labour MPs do not choose the leader, the party does that."

    Abbott also claimed that 60% of party members support Corbyn. "This current circus is not for the Labour party – a leadership election is inevitable and there is a very good chance he will win. The party will then want MPs to rally behind the leader. Party members are going to look dimly at people who have chosen to unleash this mayhem."

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    And the resignations continue: Andy Slaughter quit the front bench late last night.

    Richard Gray / Empics Entertainment

    Slaughter, who describes himself as a "comrade" of Corbyn's, said he had made the decision only after consulting with local party activists – who agreed.

    The BBC also reported that Slaughter, formerly shadow justice minister, had been offered a new role on Corbyn's hastily assembled new cabinet line-up. However, it appears he turned the role down and chose to quit instead.

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    Labour MPs to vote on a motion of no confidence in Corbyn.

    Toby Melville / Reuters

    Labour MPs will today vote on a motion of no confidence in party leader Jeremy Corbyn that he is expected to lose.

    Labour is in total crisis, with much of the parliamentary party in open rebellion as Corbyn's team appear to be preparing for a leadership ballot of ordinary members that they are confident of winning.

    The motion of no confidence, tabled by Dame Margaret Hodge and Ann Coffey, is only advisory and Corbyn has said he will stay on regardless.

    Voting will take place in secret between 10am and 4pm, with a result expected shortly afterwards.

    Although the exact numbers of Labour MPs who voted for or against the motion is officially meant to remain secret, it seems highly unlikely it will not be leaked and reveal the true depth of opposition to Labour leader within the parliamentary party (PLP).

    The vote will be overseen by PLP staff, with other scrutineers appointed by the PLP to ensure counting is done fairly.

    However, one Labour MP confidently told BuzzFeed News to expect a quick result: "It won't take long to count the votes for Corbyn."

    Corbyn still has some supporters, all of whom say he won't – and shouldn't – go.

    Diane Abbott says leadership election inevitable - adds there's a "very good chance Jeremy will win"

    Politics editor Jim Waterson reports.

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    Jeremy Corbyn Challenges His Labour Opponents To Call A Leadership Election

    Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images

    Jeremy Corbyn is urging Labour MPs to mount a formal challenge to his leadership of the party if they want change, following an extraordinary two days in which more than 40 shadow ministers resigned in an attempt to force him from office following the EU referendum.

    The Labour leader was repeatedly urged to stand down at a highly charged, hour-long meeting of the parliamentary Labour party on Monday night, when MP after MP lined up to tell the leader to his face that he should quit. They then decided to hold a vote of no confidence in the leader, to take place on Tuesday.

    At the same time, outside parliament hundreds of Momentum activists gathered to show their support for the Labour leader, chanting slogans such as: "They say coup! We say F U!" The gathering was later addressed by Corbyn, who received a rapturous response in stark contrast to the mauling he received inside.

    Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images

    Corbyn's spokesperson challenged Labour MPs to put up or shut up by calling a full leadership contest. That would involve gathering the signatures of 51 MPs to trigger an election, which the leader's team remain confident of winning given the scale of his landslide victory in September.

    "If people don't think Jeremy has the confidence of the Labour party membership then mount an electoral challenge," the spokesperson said. "The electoral rules are very straightforward."

    Politics editor Jim Waterson and political correspondent Siraj Datoo report.

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    In the space of the past hour, two more Labour MPs have resigned.

    Anna Gowthorpe / PA WIRE
    PA

    Melanie Onn, shadow deputy leader of the House of Commons, resigned and posted her statement to Jeremy Corbyn on Twitter.

    "Although I have the strongest desire for unity, this cannot be achieved as long as you remain in post," she wrote. Corbyn's position, she said, had become "untenable".

    The Labour party was "increasingly polarised, less accepting and unhappy", Onn wrote. She added that her party was "not a pressure group" but a "political party whose purpose is to win elections for the good of the country". But at the moment, the Labour party lacked any "credibility" and had failed to "get its act together".

    Richard Burden, shadow minister for strategic transport, pulled few punches in his resignation letter to Corbyn.

    With a heavy heart I have sent my letter of resignation to Jeremy: https://t.co/sYEGlSalgB

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    Another senior Labour shadow minister has resigned, claiming his party is on the brink of "catastrophic defeat".

    Johnny Green / EMPICS Sports Photo Agency

    Shadow police commissioner Jack Dromey, who is married to fellow Labour MP Harriet Harman, said in a letter to Corbyn: "I believe you should stand down."

    "I believe we may now be on the brink of a catastrophic defeat from which Labour may never recover," he went on to say.

    Addressing Corbyn in the letter, reported by the Birmingham Mail, Dromey said Labour "cannot fight back and win with you as leader".

    "I would urge you, therefore, as the decent and principled man that you are to put the working people of Britain first, for it is their interests that we serve."

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    Earlier today, a senior Labour MP claimed Jeremy Corbyn may have voted Leave.

    Facebook: video.php

    Rhondda MP Chris Bryant, speaking to the BBC on Monday morning, said that his own constituents had been confused about the party leader's position on the EU and had asked him on polling day how Corbyn voted.

    "Jeremy's management of the campaign for the referendum left many voters on polling day not even knowing which way Jeremy himself was going to vote," Bryant told the BBC. "I suspect that Jeremy may have voted to leave."

    The former shadow leader of the House of Commons said the Labour leader had refused to declare how he voted when questioned. According to a source, activists campaigning with Corbyn on polling day joked that "he was the only Leave vote in north London".

    In his resignation letter, Bryant accused Corbyn of having "undermined the campaign to stay in the EU" and said he risked "[going] down in history as the man who broke the Labour party".

    But a spokesperson for Corbyn said Bryant’s claim was “nonsense” and that the Labour leader had made it clear that he was voting for Remain.

    I've just voted to Remain. The EU provides the best framework to meet the challenges of our time #LabourInForBritain

    Political correspondent Siraj Datoo reports.

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    Labour will move to bring a vote of no confidence in Jeremy Corbyn tomorrow.

    Christopher Furlong / Getty Images

    The Labour party will hold a secret ballot to decide whether to keep Corbyn in the leadership position. Sky News reports the result is expected at around 4pm tomorrow.

    Sources have told The Guardian that as many as 70% of Labour MPs are expected to vote Corbyn out.

    Lab source says they have seen 'whites of their eyes' of 65-70% of PLP who say they will vote for #Jexit in Corbyn no confidence poll

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    The Labour leader, who as of shortly before 4pm Monday had seen 41 senior MPs resign from their roles in protest at his leadership since Sunday morning, made a pointed dig at his own backbenchers during his Commons statement in response to the prime minister this afternoon.

    "Our country is divided and the country will thank neither the benches in front of me, nor those behind, for indulging in internal factional manoeuvring at this time," Corbyn said.

    The chamber erupted into jeers and laughter, with several cries of "resign" from the MPs behind Corbyn – prompting Speaker John Bercow to call order.

    The Labour leader was flanked by the new shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry and his deputy Tom Watson, who hours earlier had warned him he faced a leadership challenge if he failed to stand down.

    Senior politics correspondent Emily Ashton reports.

    Today's Labour events, summed up in one picture.

    David Cameron, speaking first, appeared to have almost returned to his usual energetic form in front of the dispatch box.

    BBC

    The PM could not resist landing a few blows on Corbyn. Welcoming the new MP for Tooting to the chamber, he advised her to "keep her phone on, she might be in the shadow cabinet by the end of the day", to a huge laugh. Cameron added: "And I thought I was having a bad day."

    Following Corbyn's statement to the Commons, the PM seemingly made a dig at allegations that the Labour leader had not properly committed to campaigning for a Remain vote. "All I know is I put everything I could into the campaign, I fought head heart and soul," he told the Commons.

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    Keir Starmer has resigned. He is the 41st MP to quit the Labour front bench since Hilary Benn was sacked.

    With sadness & regret, I have resigned as shadow home office minister: Brexit has changed the challenge ahead.

    He was shadow Home Office minister.

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    Thangam Debbonaire has become the 40th Labour MP to resign from a senior position.

    Ben Birchall / PA WIRE

    "We need a strong, unified and effective Labour Party in order to stand a chance of challenging the Conservative Government and to represent our progressive values as Brexit is negotiated," the former shadow culture minister wrote.

    The Bristol West MP had reportedly already made up her mind last night, the Bristol Post reported, but released a letter to her constituents today. In it, she added: "It is with sadness that I have concluded that you are not the right person to lead us."

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    UNISON have repeated their backing of Jeremy Corbyn.

    The trade union, who nominated Corbyn last summer, reiterated their support for the Labour leader.

    "Support for Jeremy remains the position of this union," UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said in a statement to BuzzFeed News.

    Prentis's statement went on to say: "If MPs choose not to serve in the shadow cabinet, the Labour leader has a right to seek to form a shadow cabinet and lead our party as long as he has the support of Party members."

    GMB Union have also stated their support for the Labour leader.

    A third big union @GMB_union sides with Corbyn

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    Alan Johnson has criticised the Corbyn office for "undermining" LabourIn efforts during EU referendum campaign.

    Alan Johnson slams Labour leadership for working against the party and undermining LabourIn campaign

    In an email posted on Twitter by Steve Reed, among the scores of shadow ministers who resigned this morning, the veteran Labour politician bluntly accused the leader's office of failing to commit to the vote for Remain.

    "Everyone need to their own assessment as to whether more could have been done to prevent this disastrous results," he said, and noted that he took his "share of responsibility for the way the Labour campaign was run".

    But, he goes on to say he hopes that Corbyn's HQ would examine their own part in the "disastrous" defeat. "At times it felt as if they were working against the rest of the Party and had conflicting objectives," Johnson wrote.

    "I was proud to work with some great people who tried their very best to get the results that we wanted," he ends by saying. "Nobody in the leadership had the right to undermine their efforts."

    Ian Forsyth / Getty Images

    Corbyn's office said they were "disappointed" in Johnson's criticism.

    "The Labour In campaign designed a campaign that took a euphoric tone towards the EU. This was not the approach of the party leader, nor did it reflect Labour's internal polling," they said in a statement, seen by the Daily Telegraph.

    "Jeremy Corbyn ran a campaign that was based on Remain and Reform, supporting continued membership, but recognising significant problems with the EU, particularly in relation to democracy, enforced privatisation and TTIP, workers' rights and jobs."

    The statement went on to note the Labour returned a "two-thirds" vote for remain.

    but it acknowledged: "There is no doubt there were occasional tensions between the Labour In campaign and the Labour leader and his office. However, it was Jeremy Corbyn's view that better chimed with the majority of Labour voters."

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    Luciana Berger has become the 22nd MP to resign from Corbyn's shadow cabinet.

    Leon Neal / AFP / Getty Images

    Berger, who was shadow minister for mental health, tweeted her resignation letter to Corbyn Monday afternoon.

    After "listening hard" to the arguments for and against Corbyn, Berger said she came to the decision that the UK needed a fresh leader to lead the country through a task "as monumental as the reconstruction of 1945".

    "My conviction is that we need a Labour leader who can unite our Party, both in parliament and the country," she wrote. She added that "loyalty to the Party must come first".

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    Following Cameron's resignation on Friday, a new leader will be in place by September 2, the party's backbench 1922 committee decided on Monday.

    Ultimately the election contest comes down to two MPs being chosen by their parliamentary colleagues before one is elected in a postal ballot of party members.

    Nominations for candidates will open on Wednesday and close on Thursday.

    So who is standing?

    Justin Tallis / AFP / Getty Images
    Carl Court / Getty Images
    Justin Tallis / AFP / Getty Images
    Carl Court / Getty Images

    Boris Johnson and Theresa May are being discussed as the frontrunners, but Stephen Crabb, George Osborne, Andrea Leadsom, Liam Fox, Dominic Raab, and Nicky Morgan are also names being discussed – some seriously, some not so seriously.

    Senior politics correspondent Emily Ashton reports.

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    Angela Eagle makes an emotional appeal for Corbyn to go – but refuses to rule out whether she would stand for leadership herself.

    Lauren Hurley / PA WIRE

    Eagle, audibly emotional throughout the interview on BBC Radio 4's World at One, said the decision to leave had been an "agonising" one, but that in the final days leading up to the referendum she had realised she was following a leader "who can't get [that] simple message across".

    She continued that while she had a "great deal" of respect for Corbyn, there were "real problems" with "the way that Jeremy communicates", and he "needs to realise he can't lead us into a general election".

    "I talked to him finally today," she said. "I had – I think communication is just really important now – I texted him yesterday while things were going on and tried to get hold of him and just heard nothing back."

    She went on to say the party needed to be able to "pick another leader who can take us forward in the tumultuous time that we're in, and try to defend the communities that we all came into politics to look after."

    Listen to Angela Eagle on #wato now. On verge of tears. This is not the coup you think it is.

    Anyone who heard Angela Eagle on #WATO just now and still thinks this is about people putting their careers before party and country, well..

    Finally, pressed on whether she would be standing for the leadership should Corbyn go, Eagle refused to be drawn.

    Rejecting assertions that she had taken part in a "coup", the former shadow minister – who was lauded for her appearances at the dispatch box when she stood in for Corbyn – said "today was not about any future contests".

    "Today is about Jeremy and the decision that he has got to make, and I very much hope that he will make it."

    Special correspondent James Ball reports.

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    Nick Thomas-Symonds, shadow employment minister, has resigned.

    It is with enormous regret that I have resigned as Shadow Employment Minister.

    In his letter of resignation, he warned that there was a "very real risk of the Labour party splitting without a change of leadership".

    Thomas-Symonds went on to say that he had "reluctantly" come to the conclusion that a different leader for his party of 20 years was needed.

    He ended by saying: "I am very sorry to say that I have lost confidence in your ability to unite the party and take on the Tories."

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    John McDonnell “barged in” on a supposedly private meeting between Jeremy Corbyn and a group of shadow cabinet ministers shortly before they resigned, a Labour source with knowledge of the meeting has told BuzzFeed News.

    Ian West / PA WIRE

    The shadow chancellor "talked across" the Labour leader and pledged to take the fight to Corbyn's internal enemies in a discussion with Lisa Nandy, Owen Smith, John Healey, Nia Griffith, and Kate Green on Monday morning.

    According to the source, Corbyn's political aide Katy Clark asked if John McDonnell could attend, but the shadow cabinet ministers objected to this on the basis it was supposed to be a private meeting between them and the party leader.

    However, the shadow chancellor "just barged in and sat on the table in front of Jeremy", the source said.

    "Every time they [the shadow ministers] spoke to Jeremy, John would just speak across him. He said they were going to confront everyone opposed to this leadership.

    "They said to Jeremy: 'What's your strategy to heal everyone and bring the party back together as this is a national crisis?'

    "It just became really obvious that essentially they have no intention of compromising with everyone and they just want to confront everyone rather than find a way of fixing things."

    The source said the five ministers, who are all from the soft left of the party, had a good relationship with Corbyn and avoided appearing on TV stations to criticise him as other ministers resigned on Sunday.

    However, they left feeling "gutted" when it "became obvious that there was no way that Jeremy could stay in position". All of them resigned shortly afterwards.

    A source on Corbyn's team said they had "no idea" whether the account of McDonnell sitting in on the meeting was correct, but pledged to fill all the empty shadow cabinet slots by the end of the day – including some "surprising names".

    Political editor Jim Waterson reports.

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    Kate Green, shadow minister for women and equalities, has resigned.

    My letter to Jeremy advising my resignation from the shadow cabinet today

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    Despite all the resignations, Corbyn's office appears to be doubling down on its position.

    NEW: Jeremy Corbyn spokesman: We are not moving at all. We will not allow a coup in the back corridors in Parliament to succeed.

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    Stefan Rousseau / PA WIRE

    The shadow secretary for culture and the shadow minister for Wales are the latest cabinet members to resign.

    Stefan Rousseau / PA WIRE
    Stefan Rousseau / PA WIRE

    Maria Eagle, shadow secretary for culture, resigned shortly after her sister Angela quit as shadow business secretary.

    Thirty-six members of Corbyn's frontbench team have now quit and called for him to step down.

    The departure of Nia Griffith, the shadow secretary of state for Wales, along with her team of shadow Wales office minister Susan Elan Jones MP and parliamentary private secretary Gerald Jones MP, means Labour no longer has a representative in Wales.

    Entire shadow Wales team - @NiaGriffithMP @susanelanjones and @GeraldJonesLAB - have now resigned.

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    Angela Eagle and John Healey have now resigned from the shadow cabinet.

    Jonathan Brady / PA WIRE
    Getty

    Eagle, chair of Labour's National Policy Forum, shadow business secretary, and first secretary of state, tweeted a resignation letter in which she said in these "turbulent times" Labour needed a leader who could "unite rather than divide".

    "We need a leader who can hold the Tories to account, provide genuine alternative, and who can convince the country that we understand their concerns and aspirations," she said.

    She continued that it was with "great sadness" that she had realised Corbyn was "not the right person to lead the party we both love".

    Almost simultaneously, Healey, shadow secretary of state for housing and planning, also announced his resignation. Tweeting that he had "personally" delivered his letter to Corbyn, he said it had become clear to him that the beleaguered Labour leader was "clearly not prepared to accept the special responsibility you have in acting to meet these challenges".

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    Phillips, who served as a parliamentary private secretary to the party's education team, told Corbyn: "I'm really worried that you cannot see that you have made this all about you and not about them."

    "The Labour party is not about you, it's about us, most of all it's about them, the brilliant people in the UK, even the ones who don't agree with us," Phillips wrote in her resignation letter. "We need action, we really needed it last week, the week before."

    Refreshingly written. https://t.co/FuGMt4wqg4

    ...and amongst the sea of resignation letters, @jessphillips actually speaks from the heart. Fair play to you. https://t.co/o57fpeZchc

    Politics correspondent Siraj Datoo reports.

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    Two more shadow cabinet ministers have resigned from Corbyn's cabinet.

    Leon Neal / AFP/Getty Images

    Lisa Nandy

    Getty

    Owen Smith

    Leon Neal / AFP/Getty Images

    Lisa Nandy

    Getty

    Owen Smith

    Lisa Nandy, shadow secretary of state for energy and climate change, and Owen Smith, shadow secretary of state for work and pensions, have become the latest members of Corbyn’s cabinet to resign – and call for their leader to resign.

    In a joint statement, the MPs, who had met with Corbyn earlier today, expressed their disappointment in the Labour leader and called on his deputy Tom Watson to shepherd the party through a transition period until a new leader can be elected.

    Nandy and Smith wrote that a lack of confidence in Corbyn "goes beyond the small group of MPs" who had backed him from the start. "It has become clear that he is unable to form a broad, inclusive Shadow Cabinet that draws on the best of our movement's left and right traditions," they said.

    They said the Labour party had a "unique responsibility" to guide the UK through "one of the most difficult periods this country has ever faced".

    This is their full statement:

    Even more shadow cabinet members resign and call for Tom Watson to become temporary leader.

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    Watson criticises Corbyn privately – but falls short of calling for his resignation.

    Stefan Rousseau / PA WIRE

    Labour deputy leader Tom Watson was highly critical of Jeremy Corbyn in a private meeting on Monday morning – but did not actually call for his resignation.

    Watson made it clear to the party leader in a private meeting that Corbyn had lost the backing of much of the parliamentary party and had little authority within Labour.

    But Watson's team insisted the deputy leader did not demand the resignation of the Labour leader, despite a third of the shadow cabinet quitting on Sunday, and said they were furious with the BBC for running a headline claiming the deputy leader had demanded Corbyn's resignation. Instead, they said, he simply laid out to Corbyn the problems the party faced.

    Watson, seen as the party's main powerbroker, returned from Glastonbury Festival on Sunday afternoon following the start of a concerted coup attempt against the party leader by members of the shadow cabinet.

    The deputy leader issued a lukewarm statement calling for a stronger opposition...and is thought to be keen to avoid directly attacking the leader.

    Politics editor Jim Waterson reports.

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    Roberta Blackman-Woods and Karin Smyth have now resigned their positions on Labour's front bench. Their decisions bring the total number of Labour MPs to resign – including both shadow cabinet members and other frontbenchers – to more than 20.

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    Meanwhile, Conservatives have been arriving at Number 10.

    Ben Pruchnie / Getty Images

    Ahead of the meeting of the cabinet, Stephen Crabb, secretary of state for work and pensions, spoke briefly to reporters.

    Crabb, who has been touted as a possible leadership contender, said his focus was on "national unity".

    Stephen Crabb: 'This is not about party unity but national unity' Sounding prime ministerial? https://t.co/1sWi2ozr7X

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    In the last hour, two more shadow ministers and a frontbencher have resigned.

    Alex Cunningham, shadow minister for the natural environment, tendered his resignation shortly before 10am, and Ruth Smeeth, of the shadow Northern Ireland and Scotland teams, has also said she will resign. In the last few minutes, Wayne David, a frontbench MP for Caerphilly, has also said he will resign.

    Smeeth's resignation is particularly significant as it leaves Labour without any representatives in Scotland – once a bastion of support for the party.

    A few minutes ago I formally tendered to Jeremy Corbyn my resignation from the post of Shadow Minister for the Natural Environment.

    It's with a heavy heart that I have just resigned as PPS to the Shadow Northern Ireland & Scotland teams.

    This is my letter of resignation from Labour's Frontbench

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    Three shadow cabinet ministers are meeting Corbyn to urge him to step down.

    Ben Pruchnie / Getty Images

    Nia Griffiths, John Healey, and Kate Green – the shadow Welsh secretary, the shadow minister for housing, and the shadow minister for women and equalities respectively – are currently in a meeting with the Labour leader where they are asking him to step down, BuzzFeed News understands.

    They are expected to tell Corbyn that he has lost the confidence of the party and should tender his resignation.

    Expect more resignations through the day if the Labour leader doesn't agree to stand aside.

    Politics correspondent Siraj Datoo reports.

    But Corbyn remains defiant.

    "Those who want to change Labour's leadership will have to stand in a democratic election, in which I will be a candidate," his team said this morning, according to The Guardian.

    It follows his meeting with deputy Tom Watson, who had been expected to call for the leader's resignation but instead appears to be charting a middle path and urging Corbyn to think about the long-term ramifications for his party and the country.

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    The meeting between the deputy Labour leader and Jeremy Corbyn has taken place – but no one appears any the wiser as to the state of the Labour party and Corbyn's leadership.

    Ben Stansall / AFP / Getty Images

    Initially, it appeared that Tom Watson had not asked Corbyn to stand down.

    Meeting between Tom Watson and Jeremy Corbyn has taken place. I understand that Tom didn't urge JC to resign...

    But this was quickly walked back...

    Apparently, Tom Watson did tell Corbyn about the feelings within the PLP... Politely. But firmly

    Earlier on Monday, most political commentators had expected Watson to go the other way.

    Labour MPs tell me that they expect Tom Watson to tell Corbyn that he should resign.

    Watson, who was AWOL most of yesterday and believed to have been making his way back from Glastobury, commented on Sunday evening.

    In a statement he said he was "deeply disappointed" that Benn had been sacked and "equally saddened that so many talented, able and hard-working colleagues felt they had to leave the shadow cabinet".

    Saying yesterday it was clear that an early general election could soon be called, Watson said "the nation needs an effective opposition, particularly as the current leadership of the country is so lamentable".

    However, should The Guardian's report be true, it would appear that Watson has decided to throw his support behind Corbyn.

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    What Corbyn's new shadow cabinet lacks in experience, it makes up for in loyalty.

    Justin Tallis / AFP / Getty Images

    Jeremy Corbyn has appointed some of his most loyal MPs to the Labour frontbench, replacing most of the dozen shadow cabinet ministers who quit on Sunday following the sacking of Hilary Benn.

    The Labour leader has opted to replace or promote individuals who are personally loyal to him, even though many have only been in parliament for a year.

    He moved fast to make the announcements before a meeting in which Labour deputy leader Tom Watson is expected to call on him to step down. Corbyn insists he has no intention of moving and will run again in any leadership election.

    Emily Thornberry is the new shadow foreign secretary, while Diane Abbott is promoted to shadow health secretary. North West Durham MP Pat Glass becomes shadow education secretary and Middlesbrough MP Andy McDonald becomes shadow transport transport secretary.

    Newcomers include shadow defence secretary Clive Lewis, shadow Treasury secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey, and shadow environment secretary Rachael Maskell. All were elected for the first time at the 2015 general election and have been loyal to the party leader.

    Just 36 MPs nominated Corbyn for the leadership last summer, 10 of whom are now serving in full shadow cabinet positions – underlining the extent to which the Labour leader has chosen to stop reaching out across the parliamentary party and instead rely on his core support base.

    However, there is still no shadow leader of the Commons or shadow Scottish secretary. The latter job could be hard to fill given that Ian Murray, who quit the job on Sunday, was Scotland's only Labour MP.

    The positions of shadow justice secretary and shadow attorney general have also not been filled, while the Labour leader of the House of Lords has decided not to attend shadow cabinet meetings while Corbyn remains in charge.

    With more resignations expected, Corbyn could struggle to fill all the junior ministerial jobs that are required.

    Politics editor Jim Waterson reports.

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    Jess Phillips has also resigned. The Birmingham Yardley MP has been parliamentary private secretary to shadow education secretary Lucy Powell.

    Seems slightly highfalutin to resign as I was just the PPS in the Education Team but it was Lucy who asked me, she is gone. So am I.

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    Shadow minister for consumer affairs and science Yvonne Fovargue and shadow minister for local government Steve Reed have also issued Jeremy Corbyn with their resignation letters.

    I have today resigned from the frontbench as Shadow Minister - Consumer Affairs & Science

    I have resigned as Shadow Minister for Local Government. Here is my letter of resignation

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    Stephen Kinnock has resigned as a ministerial aide as Jeremy Corbyn begins his bid to reshape his shadow cabinet team.

    It is with regret that this morning I have resigned as a PPS

    Kinnock, a strong supporter of the Remain campaign, has stepped down as parliamentary private secretary to shadow business secretary Angela Eagle.

    Corbyn has, however, filled a number of the roles made vacant by the wave of resignations from his top team. Emily Thornberry has become shadow foreign secretary, while Diane Abbott has been given the health brief.

    Full list of new Labour shadow cabinet appointment:

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    Three more Labour ministers have quit their posts.

    Shadow armed forces minister Toby Perkins, shadow minister for civil society Anna Turley, and shadow Foreign and Commonwealth Office minister Diana Johnson informed Corbyn they would be resigning first thing on Monday.

    After @hilarybennmp sacking yesterday I have now written to Jeremy Corbyn to resign as a Shadow Foreign and Commonwealth Office minister.

    It is with great sadness that I just sent my resignation as Shadow Minister for Civil Society to Jeremy Corbyn.

    This is the text of my resignation letter sent to Jeremy Corbyn.

    I have informed Jeremy Corbyn that I am resigning from my post of Shadow Armed Forces Minister. My letter attached.

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    Corbyn says he will not step down.

    Niklas Halle'n / AFP / Getty Images

    Jeremy Corbyn has released a statement in which he says he "regrets" the resignations but will not "betray the trust" of those who voted for him "or the millions of supporters across the country who need Labour to represent them":