More than 85,000 people have signed a vote of confidence in Jeremy Corbyn within hours of the form appearing online as he faces a leadership revolt from Labour MPs.
Supporters of the Labour leader rallied to his defence on the petitions site 38Degrees after members of the parliamentary Labour party (PLP) moved to oust him following what they saw as a lacklustre performance during the EU referendum campaign.
Britain voted to leave the EU on the narrowest of margins with 52 per cent of the vote.
Many of the regions opting for Brexit were in the heavily Labour dominated areas in the north of England and the West Midlands.
Former minister Dame Margaret Hodge tabled a motion of no confidence in the Leader of the Opposition, backed by Stockport MP Ann Coffey, ahead of the PLP meeting next week.
Dame Margaret told Sky News: "The European referendum was a test of leadership and I think Jeremy failed that test.
"He came out too slowly, he was very half-hearted about his attempts to campaign and Labour voters simply didn't get the message.
"I hope, in the context of a secret ballot, that there will be overwhelming support for this motion I am putting and Jeremy will do the decent thing and resign."
Other MPs, including former frontbenchers such as Rhondda MP Chris Byrant and Exeter’s Ben Bradshaw, have also called for him to stand down after the result which saw the resignation of David Cameron as Prime Minister.
Former Labour EU Commissioner, Lord Peter Mandelson, told the BBC on Friday morning that Mr Corbyn should “question whether he really has what it takes to lead the Labour party”.
But the petition started by Dakota Rose, which has attracted 86,054 votes at the time of writing, said: “Make your voice heard against the Blarities and keep Jeremy as rightful leader of the Labour party”.
One user, Michelle W, said “The people chose Jeremy Corbyn, it should be their choice. Jeremy is our only hope for the future”.
Another petitioner said: “Don’t let the Blairities use the Brexit to oust Jeremy when it was the centre right and the far right that has caused this problem”.
Speaking to the BBC about the plot against Mr Corbyn, his right-hand man and Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said the motion of no confidence was just an expression of a point of view and he would win any new leadership contest.
He added that he believed there would be a new general election before the end of the year and Labour will be preparing for it.
A spokesman for Mr Corbyn acknowledged that the motion of no confidence had been discussed at the Shadow Cabinet in the morning but said he had no intention of stepping down.
He said: "It is a time when our party should be uniting to deal with the real issues that face Britain and the real issues that face the people of Britain, and so to create divisions in the party is a bit of a self-indulgent act".
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