Jeremy Corbyn's support begins to show signs of fraying

Jeremy Corbyn Image copyright AFP

Jeremy Corbyn's defiance has been built on his insistence that a small number of Labour MPs who have never believed in him are trying to unseat him in Westminster, and his position is buttressed by overwhelming support among the party around the country.

But with only hours until a vote on a motion of no confidence in his leadership at Westminster, there are signs that his backing away from Parliament could be starting to fray.

Another member of the front bench, Andy Slaughter, has joined dozens of others in resigning. But this is different.

Mr Slaughter describes himself as a "comrade" of Mr Corbyn and decided to resign only after consulting with his local party activists who agreed.

His disquiet cannot be dismissed as the grumbling of an MP from a very different wing of the party. I understand he also turned down a promotion to the shadow cabinet, and decided to quit instead.

Fighting on

And the first senior figure in Labour local government is now calling for him to go. Dave Sparks, the former chair of the Local Government Association, has warned that if Mr Corbyn stays, Labour will be wiped out.

He told the BBC that if the leadership doesn't change leader, and change course, the party is looking at its support disappearing in England as it has melted away in Scotland.

But last night, shadow chancellor John McDonnell said that Jeremy Corbyn would fight to stay on.

Last night in Westminster, Mr Corbyn and his close friend and colleague Mr McDonnell seemed utterly determined not to budge. It seemed inevitable that MPs' only course was to challenge him as leader.

But other local council figures are expected to echo Mr Sparks and call for him to go. The wave of enthusiasm he built outside Parliament may be starting to recede.

If so, his confidence that he would win the likely leadership contest may prove to be misplaced.

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