UK Politics

Labour leadership: Corbyn offers to 'reach out' to opponents

Jeremy Corbyn Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Jeremy Corbyn says he will stand again if a Labour leadership contest is triggered

Jeremy Corbyn has said he is "ready to reach out" to Labour MPs who oppose his leadership.

Writing in the Sunday Mirror, the Labour leader said he was willing to "work with the whole party to provide the alternative the country needs".

He said MPs opposed to his leadership needed to "respect" the views of the party members who had elected him.

Mr Corbyn also said he would stand again for the party leadership if his opponents triggered a new contest.

'Respect democracy'

His comments come days after dozens of resignations from his front-bench team and a motion of no confidence in him that was passed by 172 to 40 Labour MPs.

MPs and senior figures in the party have called for Mr Corbyn to resign, citing concerns about his performance during the UK's EU referendum campaign - which resulted in the UK voting to leave - and his ability to win a general election.

But Mr Corbyn has refused to go, saying the motion of no confidence has "no constitutional legitimacy".

Despite speculation, no Labour MP has yet confirmed they will stand against him in a leadership contest.

Mr Corbyn said in the Sunday Mirror: "I am ready to reach out to Labour MPs who didn't accept my election and oppose my leadership - and work with the whole party to provide the alternative the country needs.

"But they also need to respect the democracy of our party and the views of Labour's membership, which has increased by more than 60,000 in the past week alone.

"Our priority must be to mobilise this incredible force to oppose the Tories, and ensure people in Britain have a real political alternative.

"Those who want to challenge my leadership are free to do so in a democratic contest, in which I will be a candidate."

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Media captionAngela Eagle said Jeremy Corbyn should "do the right thing"

Mr Corbyn also ruled out the possibility of a second EU referendum in the article, saying "we must respect the democratic ­decision of the British people - and negotiate a new relationship with the EU".

But former Labour leader Lord Kinnock repeated his call for Mr Corbyn to stand down - saying there had been "a significant shift" away from supporting him at a grassroots level.

He told The Andrew Marr Show there were now "deep residual doubts" among party members about Mr Corbyn's ability to lead the party to electoral success.

And he said the Labour constitution said its leader must have substantial support among the Parliamentary party - and if that doesn't exist, he or she must stand down or face a contest.

'Losing confidence'

On Saturday Angela Eagle, who along with former shadow work and pensions secretary Owen Smith is considering a leadership challenge, renewed calls for Mr Corbyn to resign for the good of the "party and the country".

Ms Eagle, who quit last week as shadow business secretary, said: "He's lost the confidence of the parliamentary party.

"He's losing confidence in the party. And let's face it, the country's in a crisis and we need strong opposition."

But James Schneider, from grassroots movement Momentum, said Mr Corbyn still had "enormous support".

Events were held on Saturday in support of the Labour leader, including in Leeds and Liverpool - where more than 1,000 demonstrators attended.

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