Rumours of an imminent Labour Party split have emerged as the annual conference kicks off in Brighton.
Sky News political correspondent Lewis Goodall leaked a WhatsApp message from an insider, saying the party will either split or Jeremy Corbyn will be removed.
It comes as the Labour leader faces increasing pressure to get off the fence over Brexit.
Showdown over party’s official Brexit line
Activists and MPs are set for a showdown over party’s official line in the upcoming days.
Corbyn has signalled that a Labour government would seek to negotiate its own Brexit deal, and put it to a public vote – and that he would implement the result.
But some activists say they feel “despondent” about his stance.
Ok folks, hold onto your hats.— Lewis Goodall (@lewis_goodall) September 20, 2019
Just received this text from a Labour MP.
They think the Labour Party is about to split. pic.twitter.com/giVg5fOR0l
Stifle debate in Brighton
Remain campaigners fear the blunt restatement of Labour’s position could be used to try to stifle debate in Brighton.
More than 90 constituency Labour parties (CLPs) have submitted motions to next week’s conference, with most calling for Labour to commit immediately to campaigning for remain in a referendum, whatever the result of negotiations with Brussels.
Those on the Leave side – including Unite general secretary, Len McCluskey – also want clarity from Corbyn.
It comes as deputy leader Tom Watson became the victim of another round of vicious infighting as the conference kicked off.
The National Executive Committee (NEC) is to vote on whether to abolish the position of deputy leader, something ex-leader Ed Miliband described “un-democratic”.
Momentum failed to remove Watson yesterday.
A source close to Mr Watson told the Press Association that the situation was “completely outrageous”.
It has also been rumoured that Emily Thornberry will use her conference speech to launch a leadership bid.
According to Goodall’s source, she wants to say Labour should come out “explicitly for remain” or “we lose the election.”
They say “it won’t get signed off by the leadership” but expects she or (Shadow Brexit Secretary) Keir Starmer to say it anyway.
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