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Corbyn's deputy to meet unions over crisis in Labour

By Caroline Mortimer

Published 05/07/2016

Tom Watson is to hold emergency talks with trade union chiefs after a fresh attempt to persuade Jeremy Corbyn to stand down failed.

At a one-to-one meeting at Westminster, the deputy Labour leader told Mr Corbyn he could not carry on without the backing of the party's MPs, who passed a motion of no-confidence against him last week,

Mr Corbyn was said to have responded by making clear he had no intention of leaving.

Sources said union leaders had "reached out" to Mr Watson to see if they could reach a settlement, with talks expected to take place this morning. At the weekly meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party at Westminster Mr Watson told MPs: "It is the last throw of the dice."

Union leaders, who are the biggest donors to the party, have been strong Corbyn backers.

Unite leader Len McCluskey reconfirmed his support for him during an interview with Andrew Marr on Sunday. "This has been a political lynching of a decent man - undermined, humiliated, attacked in order to push him out," he said

"The truth is the coup has failed. Jeremy is made of sterner stuff. He is a man of steel."

On Sunday, sources close to Mr Corbyn said they had blocked Mr Watson from speaking to him because they had a "duty of care" towards him. "We're not letting that happen," they added. "This isn't a one-off. There is a culture of bullying."

It followed a day in which Mr Corbyn issued a defiant video message to his MPs in which he said he would stay as leader and urged the party to show unity to oppose the Government.

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