Jeremy Corbyn warns he will stand for re-election if challenged for leadership

He also states that he is "ready to reach out" to his opponents in the party

Jeremy Corbyn warns he will stand for re-election if challenged for leadership

Photo: PA Images

Jeremy Corbyn has insisted he is "ready to reach out" to his opponents in the party, but warned he would stand for re-election if they staged a challenge for the leadership.

In an article for the Sunday Mirror, the Labour leader said: "I am ready to reach out to Labour MPs who didn't accept my election and oppose my leadership - and work with the whole party to provide the alternative the country needs.

"But they also need to respect the democracy of our party and the views of Labour's membership, which has increased by more than 60,000 in the past week alone. Our priority must be to mobilise this incredible force to oppose the Tories, and ensure people in Britain have a real political alternative. That is my priority and always will be as leader of our party. Those who want to challenge my leadership are free to do so in a democratic contest, in which I will be a candidate."

The plea for calm comes at the end of a tumultuous week that saw most of his frontbench team walk out and 172 of his MPs back a motion of no confidence in his leadership.

Mr Corbyn's aides are reportedly keeping Tom Watson away from him, fearing he will try to "bully" the 67-year-old leader into quitting.

The deputy leader has been trying to seek a meeting to find a way of negotiating a settlement as the crisis engulfing the party shows no sign of abating, according to the Observer.

Mr Corbyn's team said the claims from an anonymous source were nonsense, adding: "Jeremy has met Tom on a couple of occasions this week."

On Saturday, sources told Sky News that a group of freshly appointed shadow cabinet ministers attempted to see the leader to urge him to resign, to prevent a split in the party.

And sources suggested Angela Eagle and Owen Smith, who were rumoured to be about to mount a challenge, have pressed the pause button.

It is thought they have been persuaded to give attempts to get Mr Corbyn to step down a proper chance as the Tory leadership campaign revs up.