Jeremy Corbyn says he won't quit as Labour conference starts in chaos

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn appearing on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show in Brighton
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn appearing on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show in Brighton
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Jeremy Corbyn has said he has no intention of quitting as Labour leader as he attempts to steady his party after a chaotic start to its annual conference.

Mr Corbyn insisted he would serve a full term as prime minister if his party wins the next general election, amid a spectacular row over the position of his deputy, Tom Watson, who would take over as interim leader if he stood down.

On the eve of the Labour conference in Brighton, one of Mr Corbyn’s closest allies, the Momentum founder Jon Lansman, attempted to oust Mr Watson - a frequent critic of his party leader - by calling for the abolition of the deputy leadership post.

The bid on the party’s National Executive Committee narrowly failed, but Mr Corbyn appeared to give his blessing to the attempt to sideline Mr Watson by saying he would like to see two deputy leaders of the Labour Party.

Meanwhile, one of the Labour leader’s closest aides and the author of the party’s 2015 manifesto has resigned, with a scathing memo being leaked to a Sunday newspaper.

Amid rumours that he is considering standing down, Mr Corbyn told BBC One's The Andrew Marr Show he would lead Labour into the next poll.

And asked if he would serve a full term in office, Mr Corbyn said: "Of course."

The Labour leader added: "I'm taking the party into the general election... to end austerity, to bring forward policies that bring about a better standard of living and better opportunities for people all across this country.”

"I'm enjoying doing that, I'm campaigning all the time - I did 40 events during August alone all around the country."

Following the abandoned bid to scrap Mr Watson's position, Mr Corbyn said he did not know that a motion would be put to the NEC "at that time".

He insisted he gets on "absolutely fine" with Mr Watson, and told the BBC: "I knew there were discussions going on about the role of deputy leader - I did not know that particular motion was going to be put at that time."

Asked why he didn't know, Mr Corbyn said: "I'm not all seeing and all knowing - I'd love to be."

Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth has said it would be misguided to abolish the position of deputy Labour Party leader.

He told Sky News: "Whatever people think of Tom Watson, and he's got supporters and he's got people who are not so keen on him in the Labour Party.

"I thought getting rid of the office of deputy leader of the Labour Party was counter-productive, misguided."

The Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said any suggestion he was involved in the bid to oust Mr Watson was “fake news”.

“I knew nothing about it, this is fake news, the media is looking for a story,” he told the Ridge on Sunday programme on Sky News.

The Sunday Times revealed Andrew Fisher resigned as Labour’s head of policy last Saturday and sent a memo to Mr Corbyn saying he was sick of the "blizzard of lies" within the leader’s top team.

Mr Fisher is reported to have said: "I no longer have faith we will succeed,” and added that Mr Corbyn’s other senior aides "lack of professionalism, competence and human decency".

Asked about Mr Fisher’s resignation, Mr Corbyn said: "He is wanting to leave in order to spend time looking after his son and being with his wife and his family - because this is a very stressful and very full-on job.

"And he is working with us for the rest of this year - he will be here for the general election campaign."

Asked about Mr Fisher's comments, the leader of the opposition said: "I think he said that because he was extremely distressed at that point about whatever was going on in discussions within the office at that moment."