Jeremy Corbyn refuses to resign after overwhelming defeat in no-confidence vote

Labour MPs voted 172-40 against the party's leader in a secret ballot that followed the UK's vote to eave the European Union.
June 28, 2016, 4:10pm
Photo by Will Oliver/EPA

British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn overwhelmingly lost a vote of no-confidence by members of his party on Tuesday, with 172 Labour MPs voting for Corbyn to step down and 40 supporting him in a secret ballot.

Shortly after the result was announced, Corbyn defiantly refused to resign. "Today's vote by MP's has no constitutional legitimacy" he wrote in a statement.

"I was democratically elected leader of our party for a new kind of politics by 60 percent of Labour members and supporters," Corbyn wrote. "I will not betray them by resigning."

On Monday, thousands of Corbyn's supporters showed up at Parliament to protest the no-confidence motion, which was filed by Labour MPs Dame Margaret Hodge and Ann Coffey on Friday after the UK voted in favor of leaving the European Union.

Incumbent Prime Minister David Cameron, leader of the Conservative Party, resigned on Friday after the so-called Brexit vote.

Related: UK police say racist incidents have spiked since the Brexit vote

Both Corbyn and Cameron were criticized for leading lackluster campaigns to remain in the EU. The Labour party was plunged into turmoil after Corbyn sacked his shadow foreign minister, Hilary Benn, in the early hours of Sunday morning. Benn had called Corbyn to express his lack of confidence in his leadership. Following Benn, the majority of Corbyn's cabinet resigned over a 48-hour period citing similar concerns.

The Guardian reported that deputy Prime Minister Tom Watson and Angela Eagle, a former shadow business secretary who resigned on Monday, are vying for Labour leadership if Corbyn ultimately steps down.

Corbyn was elected Labour leader nine months ago after touting a leftist, anti-establishment brand of politics that was reflected in the popularity of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

Follow Tess Owen on Twitter: @__misstessowen

Watch: Jeremy Corbyn: The Outsider