British PM Tells Labour Leader “For Heaven’s Sake Man, Go” after Losing to Non-Confudence Vote
LONDON – British Prime Minister David Cameron used his weekly question time in Parliament to pressure opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn,to step down after the bulk of Labour Party lawmakers passed a motion of no confidence in their embattled chief.
“It might be in my party’s interest for him to sit there,” Cameron told the House of Commons in London on Wednesday.“It’s not in the national interest. And I would say: for heaven’s sake man, go!”
Corbyn is facing the prospect of a formal bid to unseat him after he refused to resign following the no-confidence motion, which he lost by 172 votes to 40 on Tuesday. The standoff deepens the turmoil in a party more divided than at any time in three decades after the Brexit referendum. There’s speculation that Angela Eagle, one of dozens of Labour lawmakers who have resigned from his team in the past three days, is preparing to mount a leadership challenge.
The premier’s weekly question session in the Commons is virtually always an extremely noisy affair. On Wednesday, though, there was silence in the benches behind Corbyn. Labour lawmakers, who blame their leader’s half-hearted campaigning for the surprise Brexit vote, sat impassive as Corbyn asked Cameron questions about the impact of leaving the European Union.
Cameron, who received a letter of support from more than 80 of his own lawmakers on Thursday evening yet still resigned Friday, turned the talk to Corbyn’s role in the referendum battle.
“I know he says he put his back into it,” Cameron told the chamber. “All I can say is, I’d hate to see him when he’s not trying.”
Insisting the no-confidence vote had no “constitutional legitimacy,” Corbyn has vowed not to “betray” grassroots supporters who helped propel him to the leadership in September, with 60 percent of the votes in the wider party. Rank-and-file members have remained vocal fans ever since, and Momentum, the group that supports him, has scheduled a “Keep Corbyn” rally for Wednesday evening in London, after a similar one outside Parliament on Monday.
But he was never the choice of Labour MPs, many of whom opposed his hard-line socialist policies and now accuse him of doing too little to persuade Labour voters to back staying in the EU. Labour’s parliamentarians fear the party has little chance of winning a general election that could happen sooner than planned if Corbyn remains at the helm, with some saying he’s better suited to protest than government.
By Alex Morales AlexJFMorales Robert Hutton RobDotHutton – Bloomberg
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