Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has dismissed reports of a possible coup attempt ahead of national and local elections, where the party’s performance will come under intense scrutiny.
Frustrated parliamentarians have privately argued that it is probably not the right time to mount a leadership challenge as pollsters warn Corbyn remains undefeatable in any vote of Labour members.
Labour contests elections Thursday across Scotland and Wales, as well as for local councilors in England and for the London mayoralty.
Joe Twyman, head of political and social research at YouGov, said Corbyn remained “a country mile” ahead of other potential candidates,The Guardian reported.
“The bottom line is that those eligible to vote in the Labour Party leadership election strongly supported Jeremy Corbyn last year and that has not significantly changed,” he said.
“So far no alternative candidate appears to have attracted anything like the kind of support and momentum needed to defeat him,” he added.
The Labour Party has been plagued by reports that members of Corbyn’s shadow cabinet are discussing with rebel Labour MPs plotting a coup against the leader amid an unraveling “anti-Semitism” row engulfing the party.
Reports have suggested that some party members are attempting to persuade veteran MP Margaret Hodge to stand up against Corbyn as a “stalking horse.”
File photo of Margaret Hodge
The Labour leader accused the “media establishment” of obsessing over the future of his leadership instead of focusing on issues important to British voters.
“[People] are talking about housing, they’re talking about poverty, they’re talking about NHS cuts, they are talking about zero-hours contracts, they are talking about low wages, they are talking about a crisis of expectation for young people,” he said.
“It’s time, quite honestly, that many in the golden circle of the media establishment actually got out a bit and listened to what people are saying,” he added.
Cobyrn has in recent days come under mounting pressure as it emerged that the party has suspended as many as 50 members over allegations of “anti-Semitism” and racism over the past two months.
In the latest move, Labour suspended three councilors Monday over social media posts about Israel.
Meanwhile, Corbyn’s allies have suggested that he could withdraw support for the campaign to keep Britain in the European Union in a bid to stop rebels from mounting a coup.
The move could prove effective as leading Labour moderates have indicated that keeping Britain in the EU is more important in the short term than who is the party leader.
Britain will hold a referendum on June 23 to decide whether to leave the 28-nation bloc or stay in it.
Some Labour MPs said they intend to “hold their breath until Thursday and hold their noses until the 24th June” before launching a coup, The Telegraph reported, citing a senior shadow cabinet source.