'It's wishful thinking... probably by yourself': Bad-tempered Jeremy Corbyn clashes with BBC's Andrew Marr as he DENIES he is about to quit amid meltdown among aides and backlash over muddled Brexit stance
- Jeremy Corbyn has given bad-tempered interview to BBC at Labour conference
- Swiped at host Andrew Marr that he might be among those wanting him to quit
- Clashes came after key aide Andrew Fisher resigned with blast at colleagues
- He said he was sick of the 'blizzard of lies and excuses' within the Labour party
- Comes as Labour Leader's allies are said to be now triggering succession plans
- Tom Watson claims Labour is a 'Remain party' as he tears into Brexit fudge
- Len McCluskey says disgruntled shadow cabinet members should 'step aside'
Jeremy Corbyn was embroiled in bad-tempered clashes with the BBC's Andrew Marr today as he denied he is on the verge of quitting.
The Labour leader swiped that Marr was one of the people 'wishing' to get rid of him - and at one point demanded: 'What are you trying to say?'
He also admitted that there are raging tensions among his close team, after one key aide quit condemning a 'blizzard of lies' and 'class war' in Mr Corbyn's office.
The extraordinary exchanges came amid claims Mr Corbyn's allies have begun triggering succession plans after deciding they are 'past the high-water mark of Corbynism'.
The veteran left-winger is facing a stormy Labour conference in Brighton over the next four days as activists rail at his muddled stance on Brexit.
A poll has found the Tories have opened up a 15-point lead over Labour, and two-thirds of the public disapprove of his EU policy.
A bid by Mr Corbyn's allies to oust his Remain-backing deputy Tom Watson had to be humiliatingly aborted yesterday. He said this morning that 'of course' he will obey activists if they vote for a motion ordering the party to support cancelling Brexit.
However, Mr Corbyn dismissed claims he will stand down soon, telling Marr: 'That is wishful thinking by some people - probably yourself.'
He insisted he will serve a full term as PM if Labour wins a general election, but said: 'I am very surprised at the question actually.'
Marr hit back that who was PM was a matter of great concern to the public.
Meanwhile, Mr Watson upped the stakes in the Brexit battle today as he claimed 'Labour is a Remain party'.
But Mr Corbyn's ally Len McCluskey said any shadow cabinet member who could not back the leader's approach should 'step aside'.
Mr Corbyn also shrugged off the row over Andrew Fisher's bombshell departure, which saw him send a memo criticising public-school educated senior colleagues including strategy chief Seumas Milne.
He said Mr Fisher had been 'distressed' about an internal argument and suspected similar memos were 'flying around the BBC' all the time, adding: 'Maybe, Andrew, even in your team.'
Jeremy Corbyn - known to be a long-standing Eurosceptic - was embroiled in bad-tempered clashes with the Andrew Marr today (pictured) as he denied he is on the verge of quitting
Mr Corbyn tried to put a brave face on the bombshell memo from Andrew Fisher today - walking into the conference centre in Brighton with Mr Fisher (second from right) and his controversial strategy chief Seumas Milne (left)
Labour members want to ditch the Queen and blame Britain for IRA attacks, poll finds
Some 62 per cent of Labour members say the UK should become a republic, compared to 29 per cent who believe in retaining the monarchy, according to the YouGov poll
Labour members want to ditch the Queen and blame Britain for IRA attacks, according to a shock poll today.
Most activists are ashamed rather than proud of the UK's history, and tend to blame the media for the anti-Semitism crisis wracking the party.
The grim picture of the Labour faithful under Jeremy Corbyn's stewardship emerged as the party holds its conference in Brighton.
But the event has already been marred by bitter infighting as the hard Left tries to purge moderates.
The YouGov poll of 1,100 members found just 15 per cent are 'proud' of Britain's history - while 43 per cent said they were 'ashamed'.
Mr Fisher, head of policy and the author of the party's last manifesto, delivered a scathing assessment of the 'blizzard of lies and excuses' emanating from Mr Corbyn's office, and claimed it was in the grip of a 'class war'.
In a memo seen by The Sunday Times and sent last week, Mr Fisher denounced Mr Corbyn's team for their 'lack of professionalism, competence and human decency.'
Mr Fisher is expected to stay on until the end of the year, and has played down the spat with Mr Corbyn's office in another message to colleagues overnight - saying he wanted to prioritise his family after four years of 'long hours and stress'.
Mr Corbyn staged a toe-curling photo-op designed to defuse the story on the way into party conference this morning.
He was flanked by both Mr Milne and Mr Fisher, with all three wearing fixed smiles for the waiting cameras.
During his interview, a clearly rattled Mr Corbyn said of Mr Fisher: 'He is wanting to leave in order to spend time looking after his son and being with his wife and his family - because this is a very stressful and very full-on job.
'And he is working with us for the rest of this year - he will be here for the general election campaign, he is as we speak... downstairs.'
Asked about Mr Fisher's comments that he was sick of the 'blizzard of lies' within Mr Corbyn's team, the Labour leader said: 'I think he said that because he was extremely distressed at that point about whatever was going on in discussions within the office at that moment.'
Mr Corbyn added: 'He is a great colleague, a great friend... I've worked with Andrew for 15 years, when I was a backbencher and many other times. He is a great writer, he's a great thinker and he's done a huge amount of work in the party.
'We get along absolutely very well and he's promised that whatever happens in the future he will be working with me on policy issues.'
Mr Fisher had reportedly claimed when he quit that just one week out from Labour's conference the leadership had not managed to arrive at a central message despite spending 'tens of thousands of pounds' on focus groups and polling.
'Irony is dead': Labour in class war row after 'two public school educated aides come up with "people before privilege" slogan'
Labour descended into class war today amid claims that the party's conference slogan of 'people before privilege' was actually drawn up by two Jeremy Corbyn aides who went to an elite public school.
The slogan is apparently the work of Seumas Milne, Mr Corbyn's most senior adviser, and James Schneider, who leads his press operation.
Both men attended the exclusive Winchester College before then studying at Oxford University.
Their status as Wykehamists - the name given to pupils who attended Winchester College - has raised eyebrows in the past given their key roles in Mr Corbyn's Labour Party which has long campaigned on a central message of 'For The Many Not The Few'.
The suggestion in The Sunday Times that Mr Milne, with the help of Mr Schneider, selected the latest slogan reportedly prompted one Labour staffer to remark: 'That proves irony is dead — two people with privilege came up with that.'
He painted a picture of a chaotic leader's office in which speeches were cancelled at the last minute and confidential documents were left out on the printer.
Mr Corbyn has previously reportedly faced pressure to stage a clear out of his top aides with John McDonnell and Diane Abbott apparently having privately called for Mr Milne and Karie Murphy, the Labour leader's gatekeeper, to be replaced.
One source in the leader's office told The Sunday Times that Mr Milne 'is the problem' as they bemoaned the former Guardian journalist's influence over the direction of the party.
Another source said that if Mr Milne remained in post Labour would not win the next election with Mr McDonnell apparently 'completely furious' with him.
Mr Milne plays a central role in agreeing Labour's messaging and one source claimed he had a 'hissy fit' when he returned from his summer holiday because of the work that had been done in his absence.
Meanwhile, Mr Milne was also under fire today after it was claimed that he and Mr Corbyn's press chief James Schneider had signed off on the party's conference slogan of 'people before privilege'.
Both men attended an elite public school and went to Oxford University, prompting one Labour staffer to remark that 'irony is dead'.
The latest furore followed an abortive effort by Mr Corbyn's allies to oust his deputy Tom Watson, who has infuriated them by calling for Labour to shift to an explicitly pro-Remain stance.
The 'drive by shooting' to remove the elected post altogether was humiliatingly abandoned after an outcry over the leader's purge of moderates.
The Labour leader, pictured after his interview with the BBC this morning, has faced a disastrous start to his party's 2019 conference
Allies of Mr Corbyn failed in a bid to oust Tom Watson, pictured talking to reporters in Brighton today, as deputy party leader yesterday
Mr Corbyn defended his much-ridiculed plan to go into an election without saying whether he would campaign to remain in the EU in the referendum he is promising.
The Labour leader hopes to negotiate a new Brexit deal with Brussels and put that to a public vote against the option of staying in the EU.
He told the BBC: 'What we have said is that we would want to hold a consultation, a special conference of our party at the point that we have got this offer from the EU, we've got this as a remain - and hopefully reform - option.
The plot to scrap Mr Watson's position was spearheaded by Jon Lansman (pictured last year), the boss of the Corbyn-supporting Momentum group
'Because I do think even those that are strongly in favour of remain would recognise the EU needs to have some reforms.'
In response to MPs and activists - including shadow cabinet ministers - calling for the party to come out in support of remain now, Mr Corbyn said: 'I will go along with whatever decision the party comes to.'
But he added: 'Please remember why people voted leave, why people voted remain, but also remember there is more that unites all of those people - over austerity, over investment, over education, over housing, over health, over a green industrial revolution - than there is that divides them.'
The plot to scrap Mr Watson's position was spearheaded by Jon Lansman, the boss of the Corbyn-supporting Momentum group.
Labour MP Jess Phillips says Jeremy Corbyn will NOT win majority at next election
Jeremy Corbyn will not win a majority at the next general election, Labour MP Jess Phillips has claimed as she said the party leader was now past his 'peak'.
Ms Phillips, the outspoken MP for Birmingham Yardley, said she believed it was possible that Labour could be the largest party after a snap poll.
But she said she 'can't see a way' for Mr Corbyn to win the contest outright as she suggested he would struggle to beat his better-than-expected performance in 2017.
She also joined rebel Labour calls, led by deputy party leader Tom Watson, for a second Brexit referendum to be held before a general election.
Mr Corbyn has said he wants there to be an election followed by a second referendum.
The move has been described by allies of Mr Corbyn as means by which to secure the hard-Left's grip over the party's leadership. And it is reportedly thought by some Corbyn allies that another leader would have a better chance of securing Tory support to prevent a No Deal Brexit.
One senior shadow cabinet minister told The Sunday Telegraph that Lansman's actions, on behalf of Momentum, were an attempt to 'secure the succession' on the basis that 'we have passed the high-water mark of Corbynism'.
Mr Watson, who was met by cheering supporters as he arrived at Brighton station for the conference on Saturday afternoon, was scathing about Mr Lansman.
He said: 'I think it says there are some people who don't think clear-headedly, who risk us having a transformative government by playing sectarian games.
'I put Jon Lansman in that category and I think it's very sad because I think he has undermined himself and the members of his organisation, many of whom have been in touch with me today and said they were not consulted when he did that and they were very disappointed with him personally.
'But that's politics, I've been around a long time and I want us to reunite now.'
Mr Watson was the target of an ambush at the Labour National Executive Committee (NEC) on Friday night, at which he was not present due to family commitments.
Although a surprise effort to abolish the post of deputy was ruled out of order by chair Wendy Nichols, those present voted by 17-10 in a bid to debate it anyway - just short of the two-thirds majority required under party rules.
The motion was due to be debated at yesterday morning's meeting of the NEC, but was withdrawn after Mr Corbyn tabled a call for a review of the deputy leadership position.
Mr Corbyn said today that he did not know that the motion would be put 'at that time'.
He insisted he gets on 'absolutely fine' with Mr Watson, and told Marr: 'I knew there were discussions going on about the role of deputy leader - I did not know that particular motion was going to be put at that time.'
Asked why he didn't know, Mr Corbyn said: 'I'm not all seeing and all knowing - I'd love to be.'
Labour could ABOLISH private schools after activists are given the green light to vote on making a 'radical' education shake-up an official part of the party's next general election manifesto
Labour could campaign to abolish all private schools after activists were given the go ahead to vote on making the policy part of Jeremy Corbyn's next general election manifesto.
Activists at Labour's annual conference in Brighton will vote later today on whether the private education sector should be integrated into the state sector.
Such a move would represent a major shake up of education provision in the UK and would represent a significant escalation in Labour's nationalisation agenda.
Sources close to Mr Corbyn this morning refused to say whether he will support the motion.
But even if he does not back the move it could still be imposed on him if a majority of activists support it.
The move has been brought forward by the Labour Against Private Schools campaign which has won the backing of a number of senior party figures including shadow chancellor John McDonnell.
Should the motion be agreed by activists and formally adopted by the party it is likely to spark accusations of hypocrisy given that numerous senior Labour figures including Diane Abbott and Shami Chakrabarti have educated children privately.
Jeremy Corbyn, pictured in Brighton this morning, is under pressure from Labour activists to back a push to abolish public schools
Labour Against Private Schools, also known as the Abolish Eton campaign, has made the college in Berkshire famously attended by Boris Johnson its rallying point
The campaign's motion calls for Labour to commit to 'integrating' private schools into the state sector in its next manifesto.
The grassroots campaign to 'end the class segregation of our schools' has made Eton College, the school attended by numerous senior Tories including Boris Johnson, its rallying point.
Ryan Quick, a supporter of the Abolish Eton campaign and a member of the Bolton North East Constituency Labour Party, said: 'We are delighted our motion will be debated unamended on the conference floor on Sunday.
'It’s time that the Labour Party took radical action on private schools, and the support of John McDonnell and Angela Rayner this week means we believe that this will become Labour Party policy once the membership has voted on it [today].'
The campaign enjoys a broad range of support from across the Labour Party, including from the sizeable pro-Corbyn Momentum campaign group.
That means today's motion has a very good chance of success when it is put to a vote.
The motion calls for private schools to be stripped of their charitable status, to have limits placed on the number of their pupils who can attend certain universities and for their endowments and assets to be distributed in the state education sector.
It states: 'The on-going existence of private schools is incompatible with Labour’s pledge to promote social justice, not social mobility in education.'
Mr McDonnell threw his backing behind the 'Abolish Eton' campaign last week as he said private schools 'should not exist'.
The shadow chancellor recorded a video message for Labour Against Private Schools and said he hoped that the campaign would 'eventually become Labour party policy' because 'people think that everyone should have a fair start in life'.
'We know that our society is grotesquely unequal, and part of the reason for that is because of the inequalities in education, particularly in private schools, where large amounts of money are spent on a privileged few,' he said.
'That's why I support the campaign now for us to talk about how we ensure an integrated education system, where private schools don't need to exist and should not exist where we have equality of education… to give all our children the education they deserve, no matter what their background.'
The push to abolish private schools came after shadow education secretary Angela Rayner announced a Labour government would scrap and replace Ofsted, the schools inspectorate.
Tory MP Ben Bradley said campaigning to abolish private schools when members of the shadow cabinet have used them would amount to 'blind hypocrisy'.
'It’s one rule for the Corbyn few and another rule for the many,' he said.