London, July 2 (IANS) British Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn is facing fresh calls to “retire with dignity” this weekend as Labour MPs seek to avoid a bitter and protracted leadership contest this summer, media reported on Saturday.
Deputy leader Tom Watson is seeking a meeting with Corbyn’s team to find a way of negotiating a settlement as the crisis engulfing the party following Britain’s vote to leave the European Union shows no sign of abating, the Telegraph reported.
Former shadow business secretary Angela Eagle is expected to mount a challenge to Corbyn early next week, with ex-shadow work and pensions secretary Owen Smith also reported to be considering a bid.
But People’s Momentum, the hard-Left grassroots movement which backs Corbyn, has recruited many of the 60,000 new members who have flocked to join the party in the last week.
James Schneider, a national Momentum organiser, dismissed claims that the leader could go after being offered a settlement that would ensure his top priorities were continued under his successor.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “The coup plotters are now flailing about because they have had 10 months to plot this coup and it seems like it has failed.
“Jeremy Corbyn has shown incredible steel in staying there and not falling, and staying there on behalf of the principle of democracy in the party.”
Schneider insisted Corbyn would win any fresh contest and insisted the wave of people signing up for Labour membership was mainly supportive of the leader.
“They don’t have a candidate who can beat Jeremy Corbyn,” he added.
But Corbyn’s beleaguered leadership is facing yet more pressure as polling indicated more than half the members of Britain’s biggest trade union want him to quit.
Some 49 per cent of people who signed up to Unite want the Labour leader to go immediately while a further 10 per cent believe he should resign before the next general election, according to a poll seen by the Guardian.
Among Labour voters, 61 per cent said he is doing badly in the job, the YouGov Election Data survey found.
Overall, 35 per cent said Corbyn should stay at the helm in the face of overwhelming opposition from MPs, MEPs and politicians in Scotland.