Libyan protests: in pictures

Solidarity rallies are taking place worldwide as Muammar Gaddafi’s son warns that civil war could be

Above, a woman shouts in support of the people of Libya in front of the White House in Washington, DC. In a bloody crackdown in Libya's second city, Benghazi, troops and mercenaries fired on unarmed protesters. The current death toll is at least 230.

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Supporters of the Libyan leader, Muammar al-Gaddafi, kiss his photograph at a pro-government rally in Tripoli. For the first time since the unrest in Libya began, anti-government protests have spread to the capital, with reports of gunfire and tear gas today.

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More pro-government protesters are seen above. Verifying information from Libya has been difficult amid a government crackdown on the internet and media communications.

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The Libyan leader's son Saif al-Islam has warned that civil war could hit the country. In a rambling address, he criticised the protesters but promised significant political reforms. He repeatedly said that Libya was "not Egypt or Tunisia".

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Above, a girl protests outside the Libyan embassy in London. Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi admitted that the police and army had made "mistakes", but said the death toll was far lower than reported.

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Demonstrators in Cairo, Egypt, shout slogans. Colonel Gaddafi, the longest-serving leader in the Arab world, has ruled the oil-rich state since he staged a coup in 1969.

Samira Shackle is a freelance journalist, who tweets @samirashackle. She was formerly a staff writer for the New Statesman.

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Will Jeremy Corbyn stand down if Labour loses the general election?

Defeat at the polls might not be the end of Corbyn’s leadership.

The latest polls suggest that Labour is headed for heavy defeat in the June general election. Usually a general election loss would be the trigger for a leader to quit: Michael Foot, Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband all stood down after their first defeat, although Neil Kinnock saw out two losses before resigning in 1992.

It’s possible, if unlikely, that Corbyn could become prime minister. If that prospect doesn’t materialise, however, the question is: will Corbyn follow the majority of his predecessors and resign, or will he hang on in office?

Will Corbyn stand down? The rules

There is no formal process for the parliamentary Labour party to oust its leader, as it discovered in the 2016 leadership challenge. Even after a majority of his MPs had voted no confidence in him, Corbyn stayed on, ultimately winning his second leadership contest after it was decided that the current leader should be automatically included on the ballot.

This year’s conference will vote on to reform the leadership selection process that would make it easier for a left-wing candidate to get on the ballot (nicknamed the “McDonnell amendment” by centrists): Corbyn could be waiting for this motion to pass before he resigns.

Will Corbyn stand down? The membership

Corbyn’s support in the membership is still strong. Without an equally compelling candidate to put before the party, Corbyn’s opponents in the PLP are unlikely to initiate another leadership battle they’re likely to lose.

That said, a general election loss could change that. Polling from March suggests that half of Labour members wanted Corbyn to stand down either immediately or before the general election.

Will Corbyn stand down? The rumours

Sources close to Corbyn have said that he might not stand down, even if he leads Labour to a crushing defeat this June. They mention Kinnock’s survival after the 1987 general election as a precedent (although at the 1987 election, Labour did gain seats).

Will Corbyn stand down? The verdict

Given his struggles to manage his own MPs and the example of other leaders, it would be remarkable if Corbyn did not stand down should Labour lose the general election. However, staying on after a vote of no-confidence in 2016 was also remarkable, and the mooted changes to the leadership election process give him a reason to hold on until September in order to secure a left-wing succession.

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