But many of his MPs fear that when a general election finally arrives Boris Johnson could win a majority of more than 100 seats. According to private polling seen by some Labour MPs, the party is set for an electoral humiliation, losing between 70 and 80 seats. The revelation comes after claims that Mr Corbyn made a deal with Mr Johnson that he would allow an election in late November once the October 31 deadline had passed without a no-deal Brexit.
However, when this was taken to the Parliamentary Labour Party there was uproar as MPs had seen the figures on what could happen to their seats. Mr Corbyn was forced to retreat.
Labour’s fresh turmoil came in the week Dame Louise Ellman became the latest senior figure to quit over anti-Semitism in the party. Dame Louise, MP for Liverpool Riverside, who is Jewish, had been a member for 55 years. She insisted she “can no longer advocate voting Labour when it risks Corbyn becoming PM”.
A former shadow cabinet minister told the Sunday Express the leader is now “so toxic” that the party would struggle to hold on to seats in any circumstances.
The senior MP said: “I could go to the most Remain parts of my constituency and tell them I was a Faragist Brexiteer and it would be less toxic than Corbyn’s name on the doorstep.
“Apart from the fanatics in Momentum there is hardly anybody out there who will vote for him.
“We are facing a historic level of defeat and we may not be able to come back from it.
“The only hope is that out of the wreckage a moderate MP could emerge as the new leader rather than one of his inner circle.”
Favourite among the moderates is Rachel Reeves, MP for Leeds West, but to win she will have to see off shadow chancellor John McDonnell, shadow education secretary Angela Rayner and shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey, all backed by big unions.
Meanwhile, other MPs are trying to persuade shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer not to stand.
One Labour MP said: “The next leader has to be a woman. It’s embarrassing that the Tories have had two and we haven’t had one. There are some good women MPs.”
Another added: “Keir has a very high opinion of himself but it’s not justified at all.”
With polling suggesting defeat, Labour MPs fear that Mr Johnson’s EU deal could put a final nail in their coffin. One senior MP said: “If we do stop the deal, it does not help us. The party’s Brexit policy has been such a mess and so confusing, it’s almost impossible for us to sell it. Boris looks good now and it does not help that we went around saying he would not get a deal.
“It’s just amazing that we have a leader who is so poor that someone like Boris Johnson with all his obvious problems and similarities to Donald Trump can still look like the better option.”
A poll in Wales last week revealed that Labour could lose half its seats there, while canvassing in Scotland has revealed a likely wipe-out.
One Scottish Labour MP said: “At the moment we will struggle to keep one of our [seven] seats. We will lose to the SNP and to the Lib Dems who have a much clearer Brexit policy.”