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.
â€œIt might be in my partyâ€™s interest for him to sit there,â€ Cameron told the House of Commons in London on Wednesday.â€œItâ€™s not in the national interest. And I would say: for heavenâ€™s sake man, go!â€
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.Â The standoff deepens the turmoil in a party more divided than at any time in three decades after the Brexit referendum. Thereâ€™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 premierâ€™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 leaderâ€™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 Corbynâ€™s role in the referendum battle.
â€œI know he says he put his back into it,â€ Cameron told the chamber. â€œAll I can say is, Iâ€™d hate to see him when heâ€™s not trying.â€
Insisting the no-confidence vote had no â€œconstitutional legitimacy,â€ Corbyn has vowed not to â€œbetrayâ€ 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, andÂ Momentum, the group that supports him, has scheduled a â€œKeep Corbynâ€ 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.Â Labourâ€™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 heâ€™s better suited to protest than government.
By Alex Morales AlexJFMorales Robert Hutton RobDotHutton – Bloomberg