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Labour MPs pass a vote of no confidence in Jeremy Corbyn – what happens now?

172 no confidence votes to 40 in support of the Labour leader.

Labour MPs have voted that they have no confidence in their leader, Jeremy Corbyn.

Following a secret no confidence ballot, 172 MPs voted that they had no confidence in the Labour leader, to 40 who voted in support. There were 216 votes in total, out of 229 Labour MPs. There were 13 who abstained, and four spoilt ballots. That's a turnout of 95 per cent, with 80 per cent declaring no confidence in their leader.

The motion for a no confidence ballot was tabled by Margaret Hodge MP last week, following the British public voting for Brexit in the EU referendum. Corbyn's detractors accuse him of letting Labour down for failing to campaign successfully for a Remain vote.

The Labour press office comments:

"Following the ballot conducted today, the Parliamentary Labour Party has accepted the following motion:
 
"That this PLP has no confidence in Jeremy Corbyn as Leader of the Parliamentary Labour Party."

The outcome of the ballot comes after a wave of resignations from Corbyn's shadow cabinet, which have been arriving thick and fast since the weekend following the referendum result. It is thought that Corbyn now has yet to fill at least half of the positions in his shadow frontbench. If you're wondering who has resigned, check out our liveblog. And for who's been newly appointed to the shadow cabinet, our list is here.

Corbyn has responded to the outcome, informing his party that he will not stand down:

“In the aftermath of last week’s referendum, our country faces major challenges. Risks to the economy and living standards are growing. The public is divided.

“The Government is in disarray. Ministers have made it clear they have no exit plan, but are determined to make working people pay with a new round of cuts and tax rises.

“Labour has the responsibility to give a lead where the Government will not. We need to bring people together, hold the Government to account, oppose austerity and set out a path to exit that will protect jobs and incomes.

“To do that we need to stand together. Since I was elected leader of our party nine months ago, we have repeatedly defeated the Government over its attacks on living standards.

“Last month, Labour become the largest party in the local elections. In Thursday’s referendum, a narrow majority voted to leave, but two thirds of Labour supporters backed our call for a remain vote.

“I was democratically elected leader of our party for a new kind of politics by 60 per cent of Labour members and supporters, and I will not betray them by resigning. Today’s vote by MPs has no constitutional legitimacy.

“We are a democratic party, with a clear constitution. Our people need Labour party members, trade unionists and MPs to unite behind my leadership at a critical time for our country.”

So what happens now? If any MP wishes to challenge him, they can trigger a leadership contest. To do this, they will have to receive 50 nominations (the support of 20 per cent of Labour MPs and MEPs). Once they formally have this support, they have to write to the party's general secretary, Iain McNicol, announcing their intention to run. My colleague George has the latest on who is likely to challenge Corbyn.

The party rules on whether the incumbent automatically has a place on the leadership ballot are murky. Some believe he doesn't need to amass nominations all over again to stand. Others, particularly his opponents, point to legal advice sought by the party last year that suggests he would have to gain 50 nominations, like his challengers. They are clinging on to this interpretation, because they fear that Corbyn would simply be voted in again by the party's membership, which is significantly more left wing than the parliamentary party.

But even if Corbyn does have to collect this level of support, there's no guarantee that his unpopularity in the PLP would mean he would be unable to make the ballot. He received 36 nominations last time, so his support among MPs is actually up by four, according to the result of the no confidence ballot. Considering his difficulty gaining enough nominations last June (he received his final nomination minutes before the deadline), it is unlikely. But not impossible.

Yet there is equally no certainty that he would win among the membership, which returned him by a landslide last September. Lots of the new members and signed-up supporters are devastated about Brexit, and have been baffled by Corbyn's reticence about campaigning for Remain. (Of course, a cursory glance at his voting record by any of his fans would have proved that he really is the stubborn man of principle they so praise him for being: he has been a steadfast eurosceptic for decades). It's unlikely they wouldn't back him, considering how strongly they voted for him so recently. But, again, not impossible.

Anoosh Chakelian is senior writer at the New Statesman.

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Theresa May missed an easy opportunity on EU citizens' rights

If the UK had made a big, open and generous offer, the diplomatic picture would be very different.

It's been seven hours and 365 days...and nothing compares to EU, at least as far as negotiations go.

First David Davis abandoned "the row of the summer" by agreeing to the EU's preferred negotiating timetable. Has Theresa May done the same in guaranteeing the rights of EU citizens living here indefinitely?

Well, sort of. Although the PM has said that there have to be reciprocal arrangements for British citizens abroad, the difficulty is that because we don't have ID cards and most of our public services are paid for not out of an insurance system but out of general taxation, the issues around guaranteeing access to health, education, social security and residence are easier.

Our ability to enforce a "cut-off date" for new migrants from the European Union is also illusory, unless the government thinks it has the support in parliament and the logistical ability to roll out an ID card system by March 2019. (It doesn't.)

If you want to understand how badly the PM has managed Britain's Brexit negotiations, then the rights of the three million EU nationals living in Britain is the best place to start. The overwhelming support in the country at large for guaranteeing the rights of EU citizens, coupled with the deep unease among Conservative MPs about not doing so, meant that it was never a plausible bargaining chip. (That's before you remember that the bulk of the British diaspora in Europe lives in countries with small numbers of EU citizens living in the UK. You can't secure a good deal from Spain by upsetting the Polish government.) It just made three million people, their friends and their families nervous for a year and irritated our European partners, that's all.

If the United Kingdom had made a big, open and generous offer on citizens' rights a year ago, as Vote Leave recommended in the referendum, the diplomatic picture would be very different. (It would be better still if, again, as Vote Leave argued, we hadn't triggered Article 50, an exit mechanism designed to punish an emergent dictatorship that puts all the leverage on the EU27's side.)

As it happens, May's unforced errors in negotiations, the worsening economic picture and the tricky balancing act in the House of Commons means that Remainers can hope both for a softer exit and that they might yet convince voters that nothing compares to EU after all. (That a YouGov poll shows the number of people willing to accept EU rules in order to keep the economy going stretching to 58 per cent will only further embolden the soft Brexiteers.)

For Brexiteers, that means that if Brexit doesn't go well, they have a readymade scapegoat in the government. It means Remainers can credibly hope for a soft Brexit – or no Brexit at all. 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics.

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