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WATCH: John McDonnell labels Labour rebels “f***ing useless”

“They’ve been planning this coup from the day Jeremy got elected.”

While the Tories today swap out David Cameron for Theresa May with barely a ripple, the Labour leadership contest continues to make the latest series of Love Island look like a cheery chat between pals.

At a rally in support of Jeremy Corbyn’s continued leadership in London last night, John McDonnell raised this mole’s whiskers when he made no bones about exactly what he thought of the party’s rebelling MPs.

“They’ve been planning this coup from the day Jeremy got elected,” he told a cheering crowd. “They’ve been plotting and conniving – the only good thing about it [is] as plotters, they’re fucking useless.”

The rally came after Labour's ruling body said Corbyn would automatically be on the ballot for the coming leadership contest, but that there would be a six-month freeze date for members (meaning the 130,000 people who have joined the party since January will not be automatically eligible to vote).

In spite of Corbyn warning his party against aggressive words – “there should be no bad language used, there should be no abuse used, and I don’t like the use of the word ‘traitor’ either” – McDonnell defended his language on the BBC's Today programme this morning. “It was a stand up comedy event,” he said. I'm an ordinary bloke. I used some bad language . . . If my mother was still alive today she'd be coming down and telling me she was going to wash my mouth out with soap.

Perhaps it’s time for all of our politicians’ parents to have a word or two with their delinquent kids.

I'm a mole, innit.

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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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