Jeremy Corbyn has said he will not resign if Labour loses the general election, a move likely to divide the party again if it faces heavy defeat.
Corbyn told BuzzFeed News: “I was elected leader of this party and I’ll stay leader of this party.”
He said he would be “carrying on” regardless of the vote and sounded relaxed about Labour’s tanking poll ratings: “Monsieur Zen is fine.”
On Sunday, Corbyn’s right-hand man, Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, refused to reiterate a statement that it was “inevitable” he and Corbyn would stand down following a general election defeat.
Their comments follow Labour losing almost 150 council seats in last week’s local elections, including Glasgow Central which the party has controlled for 40 years, and a poll deficit of up to 20-points to the Tories.
Before the election was called, Corbyn was asked repeatedly about his future against rumours he was poised to stand down, even after he defeated Owen Smith in a leadership contest.
He even accused the BBC of peddling “fake news” after being challenged on BBC Breakfast, labelling speculative stories as the worthy of “imadeitupyesterday.com”.
Following Labour’s humiliating defeat in the Copeland by-election, Corbyn got feisty after answering two Sky News questions about whether he would remain leader at the 2020 election.
“I’ve given you a very, very clear answer,” he snarled after being asked a third time.
Last year, David Cameron said he would stay on as Prime Minister until the end of this Parliament even if the UK voted to leave the EU. He quit immediately.