Jeremy Corbyn says he will not quit as Labour leader even he loses the general election

MP still has the support of the majority of the grassroots after winning two leadership contests

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Indy Politics

Jeremy Corbyn has said he will not stand down as Labour leader if the party loses the election.

The veteran MP, who has already survived one attempt to overthrow him during his 20 month-tenure as leader, said he intends to remain in his post even if the party is thrashed in the poll on 8 June.

Labour is bracing itself for a bruising defeat in the election as it trails 16 points behind Theresa May’s Conservatives, according to recent opinion polls.

But while out campaigning in Leamington Spa he told BuzzFeed News: "I was elected leader of this party and I’ll stay leader of this party."

He insisted the criticism and poor poll ratings were not getting to him and he said no matter what he will be “carrying on” after the vote.

Mr Corbyn was reelected on 62 per cent of the vote during the second leadership contest, and considers his support from the grassroots as a mandate to carry on even if his leadership means they lose dozens of seats.

Last month, The Independent reported that party figures close to the leader believed Mr Corbyn will refuse to resign or run in a new leadership contest.

Critics of the Labour leader say he wants to cement control of the party in the hands of the hard-left by changing the party rules on nominating leaders.

Mr Corbyn and his allies are aiming to lower the threshold of MPs signatures needed to get onto the ballot paper for the leadership contest. 

The rules currently state that they must have the backing of at least 20 per cent of Labour’s MPs and MEPs before they can be put to the wider membership to vote. 

Even with the reduced number of Labour MPs expected after the election it will still be hard for a member of the Corbyn wing of the party to get onto the ballot paper as the majority of MPs are against him.

During the second round of the leadership contest, Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) was forced to rule that he could be automatically on the ballot paper as the existing leader because there was no way he could gather the signatures required.

The changes are expected to be put to the party’s annual conference in the autumn. 

After the changes have been introduced, some have speculated the Mr Corbyn will step down to make way for a new leader. One possible successor who has been mentioned is shadow Business Secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey.