Twelve Labour MPs are threatening to QUIT the party and trigger a no-confidence vote in Jeremy Corbyn

Talks are under way for a ballot following the leader’s handling of the anti-Semitism controversy. They want colleagues to vent their anger in a secret vote over the row that has plagued the party’s summer.

A furious Labour MP said: “Having a vote would be our way of telling the public that most Labour MPs do get what’s going on, we’re on your side – it would be about sending a message.

“It’s not about triggering a leadership contest, we just want to show the public we feel their angst over the issue. There needs to be some censure over this.”

Mr Corbyn faced a previous no confidence vote in his leadership in 2016 which he lost by 172 votes to 40.

It comes after Labour veteran Frank Field resigned the party whip last week over the anti-Semitism issue. He will fight party bosses if they try and expel him from the party.

There are understood to be around a dozen Labour MPs considering their position within the party who could also resign the whip.

But one MP added that Brexit was currently holding them back from commiting their next move of leaving. They said their possible departure is likely to be after Britain leaves the EU next March but could come as early as this autumn if Theresa May gets her Brexit deal through Parliament.

One MP said: “Brexit is the glue holding the Parliamentary party together as it currently stands. We are currently putting the national interest and the country first when it comes to Brexit. It could change after the meaningful vote. Our discomfort in the party comes second.”

Another senior Labour figure in the Parliamentary party said: “The party’s make-up could look different by December.”

It comes after former Home Secretary Alan Johnson has revealed that a party split is now “inevitable”. Those who could follow Mr Field include Mike Gapes who is said to be “agonising” over his future in the party.

His decision could depend on the party adopting the internationally recognised definition of anti-Semitism in full. It comes as party moderates have been holding secret talks at a 12-acre estate in Sussex about the future of the party.

The group who met up includes Liz Kendall, Chris Leslie and Gavin Shuker. Others seen as possibly resigning the party whip include Luciana Berger, Iain Austin and Ruth Smeeth. But shadow Chancellor John McDonnell last night said he would be “worried and saddened” by a party split. He has even asked those considering leaving to discuss the matter with the leadership.

He said: “So the issue for me is I’d want to avoid at all costs a split if we can. That’s why I’m saying I don’t understand why people are motivated in that way on any of these issues.” He added that “if it’s about individual personal concerns just come and see us”.

Ex-Labour Cabinet Minister Peter Mandelson said that Mr Corbyn is trying to “drive out” the centre left from the party. He said that he found it “wrong” and “offensive” that those rank and file members no longer felt welcome in the movement.

Six who may quit

AFTER the resignation of the Labour whip of veteran MP Frank Field, six of his party colleagues are seen as potentially following in his footsteps.

All of them have either slammed the party’s anti-Semitism or criticised leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Margaret Hodge

Chris Leslie

Ian Austin

Luciana Berger

Ruth Smeeth

Mike Gapes


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