EXCL Labour have only selected 100 candidates despite being put on 'election footing' by Jeremy Corbyn
Labour have only selected around 100 candidates for the next election - despite Jeremy Corbyn saying the party is ready for a snap poll.
Mr Corbyn told the Mirror Labour was "ready for a general election, whenever it comes" amid mounting speculation Theresa May could go to the country in a last-bid to break the Brexit deadlock.
But PoliticsHome has learned that the party has only selected candidates in around one-sixth of the seats they will be expected to contest.
And none of the party's sitting MPs have been reselected to fight the next election, even though it could be just a few weeks away.
One senior Labour source said: "You can’t put a party on election footing without candidates."
In his Mirror interview, Mr Corbyn said: "A general election would give us the chance to remove this incompetent and failed Tory government.
"Whether people voted Leave or Remain, they face problems of falling living standards, rising job insecurity and cuts to essential services across the country. Labour will bring people together."
The Labour leader added: "We take nothing for granted and understand the disappointment the public has with politics.
"But if an election is called, it would be the chance to change politics in a fundamental way, take on the failed elite who have held back people and communities, and carry out a radical programme of change which truly benefits the many, not the few."
But a Labour source said: "You simply cannot say you are ready for an election if your candidates are not in place. The Tories have nearly finished endorsing their incumbent MPs, Labour hasn’t even started."
A Labour spokesperson insisted there was nothing unusual about the fact the party has still to choose around 500 election candidates.
"We’ve selected candidates in over 100 marginal seats," they said. "Candidates have never before been selected ahead of a snap election.
"We’re more prepared than we’ve ever been at this stage during the course of a Parliament and more prepared than we've ever been for a snap general election."
It is also understood that selection contests are already underway in a raft of other seats, including Tory-held constituencies.
But a Labour insider pointed out that unlike the 2017 election, the next one has been heavily speculated, meaning the party should be more prepared for it happening.