London, June 29 (IANS) Britain’s opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn on Wednesday met trade union backers amid reports of a likely challenge to his leadership.
Corbyn on Tuesday lost a confidence vote in parliament in which 172 Labour lawmakers voted against his leadership and only 40 backed him, Efe news reported.
After the vote, Corbyn made clear he has no intention of resigning, citing wide support within the Labour movement in Britain.
“I was democratically elected leader of our party for a new kind of politics by 60 per cent of Labour members and supporters, and I will not betray them by resigning,” he said in a statement.
According to party sources, a contest by one or two Labour members of parliament for leadership is imminent, although Corbyn said he would stand in another election if voted out by members of parliament.
Almost 40 members of his shadow cabinet — the opposition lawmakers who monitor or “shadow” the government policy — have resigned in protest since Sunday.
They cited disagreement with Corbyn’s “lackluster” campaign for Britain to remain in the EU in the June 23 referendum, which resulted in a narrow “Brexit” win.
Corbyn was elected in September with the support of the party’s base and trade unions — which have slowly withdrawn their endorsement in the days following the referendum — despite being openly scorned by some fellow Labour members of parliament.
Cobyn met backers from the Trade Union Confederation (TUC) on Wednesday.