UK Labour head Corbyn sacks rival amid calls to step down
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UK Labour head Corbyn sacks rival amid calls to step down

Opposition leader who backed losing ‘Remain’ camp in Brexit vote pilloried by fellow lawmakers after firing shadow foreign minister Hilary Benn

British Prime Minister David Cameron, center, Labour MP Hilary Benn left, and Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, right, prepare to lay flowers in memory of slain Labour MP Jo Cox, in Birstall, northern England, on June 17, 2016. (AFP/OLI SCARFF)
British Prime Minister David Cameron, center, Labour MP Hilary Benn left, and Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, right, prepare to lay flowers in memory of slain Labour MP Jo Cox, in Birstall, northern England, on June 17, 2016. (AFP/OLI SCARFF)

Britain’s opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn sacked a key member of his cabinet early Sunday, the BBC reported, as deep divisions within the Labour party emerged following the Brexit vote.

Corbyn had joined Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron to campaign for Britain to remain part of the European Union.

Cameron was the first casuality of the loosing “Remain” camp, stepping down as leader on Friday morning after it emerged that Britain had voted 52 percent to 48 percent in favour of leaving the EU.

In the early hours of Sunday, Corbyn dismissed shadow foreign secretary Hilary Benn, who was rallying party members to resign if the Labour leader refused to stand down.

A Labour spokesman said Corbyn had “lost confidence” in Benn, the BBC reported.

Two Labour lawmakers had put forward a vote of no confidence against the opposition leader on Saturday, reflecting the anger felt by many MPs as the results of Britain’s vote to leave the EU began to sink in.

Corbyn has faced accusations that he lost the referendum by failing to rally his party’s core working-class voter base, more than a third (37 percent) of whom who defied their party leadership to back a Brexit in Thursday’s historic referendum.

“This is sad news indeed and I cannot understand how Jeremy thinks it will help his worsening position with the PLP,” Labour MP Roberta Blackman-Woods tweeted following the sacking of Benn, using the party’s official acronym.

“The Labour Shadow Cabinet must now act to save the Party and for the sake of the country. Otherwise we will never be forgiven,” tweeted fellow party lawmaker Ben Bradshaw.

Corbyn has dismissed the vote of no confidence, but the issue will likely dominate a meeting of the parliamentary Labour party on Monday.

Any challenger would need the support of 20 percent of the party’s 229 MPs and it would then be put to party members, who propelled the veteran socialist to power only last September.

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