Jeremy Corbyn should "examine his conscience" and resign as leader of the Labour Party, Angela Eagle has said as shadow cabinet ministers quit the frontbench en masse in an attempt to force a change of leadership
Corbyn has lost 19 members of his shadow cabinet and several junior shadow ministers since the early hours of Sunday morning.
Eagle, who as shadow first secretary of state was in effect the second most senior member of Corbyn's team, said his leadership was "just not working".
"He needs to realise that he can’t lead us into a general election," Eagle told BBC Radio 4's World at One on the verge of tears. "He’s a very honorable and decent man, but this not something that he is proven able to do. And I think in the interests of the Labour Party, it's incumbent on him to recognise that and resign and let the party pick another leader who can take us forward."
Deputy Labour leader Tom Watson told Corbyn during crisis talks this morning he is likely to face a leadership challenge.
Shadow Cabinet Resignations Since Sunday
Shadow Health Secretary Heidi Alexander
Shadow Minister for Young People Gloria De Piero
Shadow Scotland Secretary Ian Murray
Shadow Transport Secretary Lillian Greenwood
Shadow Education Secretary Lucy Powell
Shadow Environment Secretary Kerry McCarthy
Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury Seema Malhotra
Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary Vernon Coaker
Shadow Justice Secretary Lord Faloner
Shadow Attorney General Karl Turner
Shadow Leader of the House Chris Bryant
Shadow Business Secretary Angela Eagle
Shadow Energy Secretary Lisa Nandy
Shadow Culture Secretary Maria Eagle
Shadow Housing Minister John Healey
Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Owen Smith
Shadow Welsh Secretary Nia Griffith
Shadow Women's minister Kate Green
Shadow Cabinet minister for mental health Luciana Berger
Shadow foreign secretary Hilary Benn (sacked)
Nandy and Smith have called for Corbyn to quit immediately and for Watson to take over as a caretaker leader.
A leadership election appears inevitable. However Corbyn has insisted he will not quit, despite the flood of resignations, and will stand for the leadership again.
The bitter battle for the future of Labour came as MPs blamed Corbyn for failing to stop the Brexit vote in the EU referendum last week.
There was shock and anger within the party after the nation voted narrowly by 52% to 48% for the UK to leave the EU.
Fighting back against the attempted coup, Corbyn has promoted allies including Clive Lewis, Kate Osamor and Cat Smith.
New Appointments To Labour’s Shadow Cabinet
Shadow Foreign Secretary - Emily Thornberry
Shadow Health Secretary – Diane Abbott
Shadow Education Secretary – Pat Glass
Shadow Transport Secretary – Andy McDonald
Shadow Defence Secretary – Clive Lewis
Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury – Rebecca Long-Bailey
Shadow International Development Secretary – Kate Osamor
Shadow Environment Food and Rural Affairs Secretary – Rachel Maskell
Shadow Voter Engagement and Youth Affairs – Cat Smith
Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary – Dave Anderson
Eagle said she had quit the shadow cabinet "with great regret" as she had promised to serve whoever had been elected leader.
"I have had to think very carefully about it, it’s been an agonizing decision but it’s the first duty of every Labour leader to communicate with the electorate," she said.
"I think during the EU referendum, with just days to go to the vote, when we had a united party position on that EU referendum, it emerged that half of our voters didn’t know what that was."
She added: "We are going to be very possibly facing a general election in the next four months and we can’t have our party led by someone who can’t get that kind of simple message across."
Eagle also revealed she had sent a text message to Corbyn on Sunday, as the Labour leader was hit by multiple shadow cabinet resignations, but he did not reply.
"I haven’t taken party in a coup," she told the BBC. " I examined my conscience, I have made the personal decision and I think it's in the best interest of the Labour Party Jeremy now examines his conscience and makes a decison to leave with dignity, to know that he has set the party on a different path that will lead us to a brighter future, but he’s not the person who can take us there."