Labour MEPs call on Jeremy Corbyn to stand down amid row over EU fallout

Posted On: 
29th June 2016

Labour MEPs today joined the calls for Jeremy Corbyn to quit - and launched a furious attack on the party's response to last week's referendum result.

Jeremy Corbyn campaigning for a Remain vote in the EU referendum
PA Images

In a letter to the Labour leader, they said they were "simply astounded" that a briefing sent out on the morning after the poll highlighted the campaigning efforts of Brexit-backing MPs Kate Hoey and Gisela Stuart.

A copy of the briefing, which was given to Labour politicians appearing on the media from 6am last Friday, included the question: "Did Labour do enough in the referendum?"

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The answer says: "Senior Labour figures toured all over the country speaking at rallies, debates and meetings to make the case. On the leave side too, Kate  Hoey and Gisela Stuart were prominent campaigners."

In their letter to Mr Corbyn, the 20 MEPs say: "Responsibility for the UK leaving the EU lies with David Cameron. That being said, we were simply astounded that on Friday morning, as news of the result sank in, an official Labour briefing document promoted the work of Kate Hoey and Gisela Stuart for the Leave campaign.

"Labour's loyal and dedicated team of activists had just spent weeks on the doorstep and on street stalls making the case to remain in the EU and countering leave campaign arguments. Yet you and your office authorised a briefing that put the whole Labour campaign on a par with two Labour politicians who had been appearing for weeks alongside right-wing politicians, such as Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson."

It adds: "So it is with a heavy heart that we urge you, for the sake of the Labour party and for the people in our country who need a Labour government, to reconsider your position as Labour leader."

Mr Corbyn has been hit by a wave of calls to quit from senior Labour figured throughout the day.

Former leaders Margaret Beckett, Harriet Harman and Ed Miliband have all said he must stand down after losing the backing of three-quarters of his MPs.

But Mr Corbyn's office have insisted he is going nowhere, and have challenged the rebels to take him on in a leadership contest.