Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is facing calls for his resignation after telling his MPs that he will not support military action in Syria.
Former minister John Spellar accused Mr Corbyn of “trying to pre-empt” Labour MPs ahead of a shadow cabinet meeting on Monday at which the party’s stance on air strikes is due to be discussed.
He told BBC Radio 5 Live: “How does Jeremy Corbyn and his small group of tiny Trots in the bunker think they’ve got the unique view on it all? It’s absolutely right for him to put that view in the shadow cabinet. It’s right for them to discuss it.
“They thought they were going away to resume that discussion on Monday. He’s now trying to pre-empt that and whip up a storm inside the party. It is, as I say, unacceptable.”
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Mr Spellar said members of the shadow cabinet who supported air strikes against Islamic State should not resign, but Mr Corbyn should.
“If anyone should resign after this incident, it should be Jeremy Corbyn,” he said.
Another ex-minister, Fiona Mactaggart, also said Mr Corbyn should stand down, just two months after being elected Labour’s leader.
Asked by BBC Radio Berkshire if Mr Corbyn should quit, she said: “I think that would be a sensible strategy because I think that the division at the moment is causing real problems.”
Mr Corbyn is also facing the threat of resignations from his shadow cabinet, more than half of whom support air strikes, after telling Labour MPs he would not back military action.
The Labour leader has not said there will be a three-line whip when the issue is debated in the Commons and his MPs may be allowed a free vote, but this would expose just how split the party is over Syria.
Shadow foreign secretary Hilary Benn, who backs air strikes, said he would not resign over Mr Corbyn’s opposition to military action and that Labour MPs could be given a free vote.
Asked if Mr Corbyn would be forced to allow a free vote on the issue, he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme “it may be that that is where we end up”.
Yesterday in the Commons, Prime Minister David Cameron set out the government’s case for British involvement in air strikes in Syria.
Speaking in Malta, where he is attending a Commonwealth summit, he said: “I believe there is a compelling case to take the effective action to keep our country safe.”