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Labour MPs want to act against Jeremy Corbyn - but not quite yet

It's been a tough few weeks for Jeremy Corbyn Credit: PA

So, the Bank Holiday weekend didn't calm things down for Labour.

Instead, many voters are going back to work this morning reading about a new leadership challenge, a split between Labour's top duo (Messrs Corbyn and McDonnell), an unhappy Parliamentary party and potential losses in Thursday's local/Scottish/Welsh/London elections when Labour should be making gains.

Now a lot of this - as those in the Labour leader's office will tell you - is driven by the agenda of the right-wing press, which is only too happy to create a narrative that helps the Conservatives in this week's elections.

But it has been a terrible few days for Jeremy Corbyn, as the anti-Semitism row was brought to a head by Labour's former London Mayor, Ken Livingstone.

Let's not forgot, the Tories were tearing chunks out of one another prior to the Livingstone-inspired debate about when precisely Hitler went mad and whether the mass-murdering Fuhrer was "a Zionist."

Mr Livingstone - and many others - argue the point is historically accurate (though many fewer agree over the wisdom of debating this matter at all).

An angry John Mann confronts Ken Livingstone after he brought up Hitler in an interview about Naz Shah's suspension

But what it has done is bring back to the surface the deep concerns in the Labour party about Mr Corbyn's leadership - and how the party is perceived by voters.

No one can deny that Mr Corbyn has a mandate to lead.

He reminds us often of his emphatic win in last summer's leadership election.

But he does not enjoy widespread support among Labour MPs.

We were expecting the acrimony to remain hidden until after Election Day this week.

But instead, it's raised its head a little prematurely.

We read today that Margaret Hodge - the straight-talking former chairwoman of the Public Accounts Committee - is being lined up as a 'stalking horse' leadership contender.

Stalking horse? Margaret Hodge Credit: PA

We read that 50 Labour MPs are ready to sign a letter calling for a new leadership election.

But after some interesting conversations with key personnel, here's where I think Labour is right now.

Mr Corbyn's opponents have decided they should act sooner rather than later: this year rather than next.

Ms Hodge's name is not news to many of them - she has been talked about for some time.

But this week's elections will not be the catalyst, as many had presumed they would be.

And that is because most of those Labour MPs opposed to Mr Corbyn's leadership are also committed to remaining in the EU.

Therefore, they will not move their pieces on the chessboard until the referendum has concluded on June 23.

That, it seems to me, will be the most dangerous time for Mr Corbyn.

And who knows, the EU referendum might end up triggering a leadership battle this summer for both Labour and the Conservatives.

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