Labour rebels are in retreat after admitting that Jeremy Corbyn cannot be removed and would “win easily” if a leadership election is triggered.
One senior Labour MP said: “It’s finished” as it emerged that lengthy talks between union bosses and Tom Watson, the party’s deputy leader, had failed to find a solution to the deadlock.
MPs have now pinned their hopes on a challenge by Angela Eagle, despite many believing that she will not beat Mr Corbyn because of his support among members.
It follows weeks of stalemate between the Labour leader’s office andMPs who want to see Mr Corbyn step down without having to trigger a leadership campaign.
One senior MP told The Telegraph: “It’s finished. He will win easily in a second contest if he is on the ballot, it’s everything we wanted to avoid.”
They added: “He is losing support of the membership by the day, there is no doubt about that, but they just sign up new members to replace them. He is Teflon in that sense.”
Another Labour source admitted that Mr Corbyn has “dug his heels in” and “isn’t going anywhere”, adding: “It’s grim.”
Jeremy Corbyn launches plea for his MPs to ‘come together’ amid Labour crisisPlay!01:59
MPs had mounted a campaign to remove the Labour leader after he sacked Hilary Benn as shadow foreign secretary following the EU referendum.
However Mr Corbyn and his allies, including John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, have refused to back down and allow a new leader to be appointed, citing the mandate he won from Labour voters in September.
McCluskey: “coup” against Corbyn has failedPlay!01:17
A Labour MP told The Telegraph: “There are more talks planned, but when one side’s red line is that Jeremy stays in post and the other side says he has to go, it is impossible to find a compromise. It’s done.
“It’s no good. It’s possible that the PLP would consider some kind of executive role for Jeremy if he were to stand aside as leader but his team just won’t consider that option, they know where the power lies.”