An emotional Margaret Beckett has called for Jeremy Corbyn to quit as Labour Party leader, as backbenchers prepare to launch leadership challenge against him.
The former Labour leader said this morning there were some people around Corbyn who were "prepared to see the Labour party split" rather than give up power.
"When you assume leadership, you have to understand that the interests of those you lead come before your own and that in those interests I’m afraid he should stand aside," she told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.
"Never in my wildest dreams, Jeremy is the nicest Labour leader under whom I have served, never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I would be casting a vote of no confidence in the Labour party. I have been loyal to every single one of them with their different views and approaches."
Yesterday, Labour MPs voted overwhelmingly to declare they have ‘no confidence’ in Corbyn’s leadership.
In an unprecedented secret ballot in the Commons, MPs decided to back the motion by 172 votes to 40, equivalent to 81% of the total who voted. There were 4 abstentions.
Corbyn reacted swiftly with a statement, declaring: "I was democratically elected leader of our party for a new kind of politics by 60% of Labour members and supporters.
"I will not betray them by resigning. Today’s vote by MPs has no constitutional legitimacy."
The vote has no formal weight and he can only be removed if 51 MPs or MEPs write to the party general secretary Iain McNicol that they are backing a named challenger to Corbyn.
This morning, former Labour cabinet minister Tessa Jowell told ITV's Good Morning Britain Corbyn should step aside.
Looking directly down the camera and addressing Corbyn directly, she said: "It's absolutely clear that your continued leadership is putting the Labour Party's future in jeopardy."
Supporters of Corbyn have warned he will impose mandatory reselection of MPs and a string of other moves to give party members more control if he successfully defeats the Commons ‘coup’ against him.
The Huffington Post UK has been told that a string of radical measures are being planned if Corbyn is re-elected, including recall by-elections and a new ‘lock’ giving the rank and file membership a veto over any future leadership elections.
Also this morning, two former chairs of the Parliamentary Labour Party - Clive Soley and Dave Watts - formally wrote to Corbyn to urge him to step down for the good of the party.
"We fear that if you continue as our party leader then the country will face a much longer period of Tory rule that will betray the hopes of so many people who want a need a Labour government," they write.
Suggested For You
Get top stories and blog posts emailed to me each day. Newsletters may offer personalized content or advertisements. Learn more