Corbyn ‘to face stalking horse leadership challenge’ from Margaret Hodge
Labour MPs reportedly claim they have persuaded party veteran Margaret Hodge to stand against Jeremy Corbyn to trigger a leadership contest.
The Sun reports that MPs are looking for the former minister to run as a stalking horse allowing other challengers to come forward at a later date.
Those involved in the coup are close to signing up 50 fellow Labour MPs to back Ms Hodge’s proposed leadership bid later this summer.
Rules dictate that a fifth of the parliamentary Labour party must support a bid to make it official and trigger a leadership contest.
One Labour MP told The Sun: “Margaret is our perfect candidate – she has a lot of gravitas but is also expendable.
“She is weighing it all up now but we think she sees it as her duty and will do it.”
Former Home Secretary Alan Johnson was also approached to be a stalking horse but rejected the offer because “he prefers an easy life”, another Labour MP told the Sun.
The news comes ahead of key local elections on Thursday across the UK. Those involved in the plot will reportedly not make a move until after the EU referendum on 23 June.
At the weekend Labour frontbencher Diane Abbott insisted that Mr Corbyn would still emerge victorious in another leadership race.
“If Jeremy is on the ballot, Jeremy wins. All the polling shows that Jeremy is as popular with Labour party members now as he was when he was first elected,” the Shadow International Development Secretary told the Andrew Marr show.
But one Labour source told the Times yesterday that in the wake of the anti-Semitism row engulfing the party, members may not back Mr Corbyn once more.
“I’m not so sure that the membership would just vote for him again. But there is a moral case now for having the argument [that he should go] more explicitly,” the source said.