This content is not available in your region

Brexit crisis hits UK Labour opposition as Corbyn faces party revolt

Access to the comments Comments
By Alasdair Sandford
Brexit crisis hits UK Labour opposition as Corbyn faces party revolt

Since the recent show of unity following the murder of the British MP Jo Cox, Brexit has brought down Prime Minister David Cameron, who says he will quit by the time of the Conservative Party conference in October.

Now Britain’s opposition Labour Party is also in open turmoil following the dismissal of shadow foreign secretary Hilary Benn, who had leader Jeremy Corbyn he had no confidence in his leadership.

It was suggested that Benn had been plotting an internal coup. He had been at odds with Corbyn and last December angered his leader by giving a passionate speech in Parliament arguing for military action against the self-proclaimed Islamic State in Syria.

Benn’s sacking duly provoked an anticipated revolt and several members of Labour’s top team have resigned in protest.

Shadow health secretary Heidi Alexander was first to go, saying the country needed an effective opposition to hold the government to account. By Sunday afternoon six of her colleagues had followed suit and quit.

But despite the calls for him to step down, Corbyn’s close allies said on Sunday that he would be staying put. Several other cabinet colleagues including the shadow finance minister John McDonnell pledged their support.

The Labour leader faces a vote of no confidence among his own MPs over allegations he fought a lukewarm referendum campaign in defence of Britain’s EU membership.

Corbyn argued it was better to be in the EU to protect workers’ rights. The message was totally rejected by voters in Labour’s traditional heartlands in central and northern England, where people voted massively to leave the European Union.