Labour MPs will try to oust Jeremy Corbyn over his failure to lead the party out of its anti-Semitism crisis, HuffPost UK understands.
There is a “growing view” among MPs that a challenge to Corbyn could be “inevitable” should the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) find the party institutionally anti-Semitic.
MPs have said they may try to topple the leader by tabling a vote of no confidence and nominating a challenger to replace him if he refuses to stand down of his own accord.
The equalities watchdog in May launched an investigation into whether the party has unlawfully discriminated against, harassed or victimised Jews. It is expected to report its findings by the end of the year or early 2020.
“It is unbelievably shameful that the Labour Party is being investigated by the EHRC, so if they find against the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn as leader has to take responsibility for that and stand down,” one MP said.
“But if he doesn’t stand down, what hope is there left that this racism in our party will ever be addressed? A challenge to his leadership will become inevitable.”
Another added: “It is a growing view that MPs will have to table a no-confidence motion.
“If Labour is said to be anti-Semitic by the Equality and Human Rights Commission - an organisation which was set up by a Labour government - and therefore racist, the leader should resign.
“If he doesn’t resign, there will be a clamour for a vote of no-confidence.”
The threat to Corbyn’s leadership was raised as factional warfare in the Labour Party once again reached boiling point.
Baroness Hayter was sacked on Wednesday as shadow Brexit minister after comparing the Labour leader and his inner circle to “the last days of Hitler”.
A vote of no-confidence by MPs would be largely symbolic because Labour’s leader is elected by members and not parliamentarians.
MPs can, however, trigger a leadership contest if 20% of MPs - or 49 of them nominate an alternative challenger.
Bids by local Momentum and pro-Corbyn members to deselect MPs sceptical of the leadership could mean some parliamentarians are more likely to back a challenger, a third MP underlined.
“Ironically, the attempts to deselect MPs could result in more backers of a challenge to Jeremy Corbyn, who is failing to lead the party,” he said.
MPs have stepped up criticism of the leader in the wake of a BBC Panorama probe which detailed shocking complaints of anti-Semitism, interviewed former staff members turned whistleblowers and alleged political interference from Corbyn’s communications chief Seumas Milne.
Part of the EHRC job is to find out whether Labour and its employees committed unlawful acts of discrimination or failed to respond to complaints of unlawful acts in an efficient and effective manner.
Labour has always denied Corbyn and the party is anti-Semitic and insists that complaints are dealt with promptly.