Jeremy Corbyn has fired shadow foreign secretary Hilary Benn

Britain's shadow Foreign Secretary Hilary Benn speaks at the annual Labour Party Conference in Brighton, southern Britain 28 September, 2015.
Britain's shadow Foreign Secretary Hilary Benn speaks at the annual Labour Party Conference in Brighton, southern Britain 28 September, 2015.

REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

Jeremy Corbyn has fired his shadow foreign secretary Hilary Benn.

Benn was fired in a midnight phone call following reports that he was staging a coup against Corbyn.

"I told Jeremy Corbyn last night that I no longer had confidence in his leadership and he dismissed me from the shadow cabinet," Benn told Sky News on Sunday morning.

On Sunday's "Andrew Marr Show" Benn called Corbyn a "good and decent man" but "not a leader."

The former shadow secretary said we have to accept the decision of the referendum and that Labour would not be able to win a general election if Corbyn was leader. He ruled out any chance of being a candidate for the Labour party. 

Corbyn is facing a vote on a motion of "no confidence" after Britain voted to leave the European Union. The Labour party campaigned for Remain during the referendum. 

"I think the European referendum was a test of leadership and Jeremy failed that test," Labour MP Margaret Hodge told Sky News on Friday.

More than half the shadow cabinet is expected to resign Sunday morning following Benn's dismissal, according to a tweet from BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg:

Tweet Embed:
https://twitter.com/mims/statuses/746960896199630848
Just been told half the shadow cabinet to resign this morning

Shadow health secretary Heidi Alexander was one of the first to step down, tweeting this resignation Sunday morning.

“It is with a heavy heart that I am writing to you to resign from the shadow cabinet. The result of the referendum last week means that our country is facing unprecedented challenges," she writes.

“As much as I respect you as a man of principle, I do not believe you have the capacity to shape the answers our country is demanding and I believe that if we are to form the next government, a change of leadership is essential.”

Tweet Embed:
https://twitter.com/mims/statuses/746966874521542656
It is with a heavy heart that I have this morning resigned from the Shadow Cabinet. pic.twitter.com/amBRk30RtR

Corbyn's decision to remove Benn could cause a revolt in the shadow cabinet. One cabinet member told The Guardian: “A bad-tempered sacking is likely to lead to more trouble for Jeremy.”

"There will be no resignation of a democratically elected leader with a strong mandate from the membership," a Labour spokesman told Sky News.

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