Council leader backs calls for Corbyn to step aside

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Wigan’s council leader has backed calls for embattled Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to stand down as MP Lisa Nandy made a rallying cry for party unity.

A number of Labour local government bosses have signed a letter backing up the vote of no confidence motion voted for by MPs earlier this week.

Lord Smith told the Evening Post: “I feel that we need a leadership that can look after people and areas that have been traditionally Labour and which are under threat from the revision of our relationship with Europe, following the Leave vote.

“Unfortunately Jeremy Corbyn does not have the confidence of voters, the Labour Party or Labour MPs.”

Meanwhile, Wigan’s MP Lisa Nandy issued a stark warning about the future of the party if it failed to “turn outwards and lead” instead of “inwards to certain destruction.”

She said: “The battle lines in the leadership contest have been drawn, and both sides have signalled they are unwilling to stop. In taking this path we are consigning ourselves to irrelevance at a time when the sensible majority in the country – who want to see a sensible, measured, respectful conversation focused on the things that unite us – desperately need a voice.

“That voice must come from Labour. To make the case for reform to free movement, for economic change that gives us the skills, jobs and industry to survive and to ensure that Britain remains resolutely outward looking as a country both in trade and foreign policy.

“This is the choice before the Labour party: to turn outwards and lead, or inwards to certain destruction. If we choose the latter path we will die, and we will deserve to. It is not too late to change.

“No more threats, anger or despair. Now is the time to reach out, listen and compromise. Decency, respect, solidarity and kindness are our values in this party. And now, more than ever, we must live them.”

Ms Nandy, along with Makerfield colleague Yvonne Fovargue, was one of more than 40 Labour MPs to resign from the Labour front-bench this week.

MPs voted in favour of the motion of no confidence in Mr Corbyn 172 to 40. He has remained defiant, however, pledging to re-stand in a leadership election telling supporters he will not betray his grassroots backing.

He said: “We are a democratic party, with a clear constitution. Our people need Labour party members, trade unionists and MPs to unite behind my leadership at a critical time for our country.”

The Wigan branch of union Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) has called for Ms Nandy to resign from being an MP as she had “undermined the democratic mandate” of Mr Corbyn.

In response, Sheila Ramsdale, chair of Wigan Labour Party said: “The RMT is not affiliated with the Labour Party and has no place commenting on Labour Party business.

“Lisa has been a fantastic MP for Wigan and continues to have the full support of Wigan Labour Party’s executive officers.”

The Parliamentary Labour Party is understood to be choosing a candidate to stand against Mr Corbyn with Angela Eagle or Tom Watson reported to be in the running.