Image copyright PA Jeremy Corbyn is likely to face a leadership challenge in "the next few days" his ally John McDonnell has said.

The shadow chancellor said Mr Corbyn was "staying as leader", despite dozens of frontbenchers resigning.

In a speech responding to the EU referendum result, he said all parties should "recognise their responsibility" to secure the country's interests.

Senior MPs Angela Eagle and Owen Smith are considering leadership bids if Mr Corbyn does not stand down.

But Mr McDonnell said MPs, who in a no confidence motion voted 172 to 40 against Mr Corbyn, should "calm down".

"I find it really disappointing. Just at a time when our country needs us and people need to step up to the plate, now is not the time to stand down. Just behave responsibly."

Amid "intense political and economic uncertainty" following the referendum result, Mr McDonnell added: "I think it's absolutely critical that all parties and all politicians recognise their responsibility now and the role they have to fulfil in securing the country's interests."

The shadow chancellor outlined five guidelines which he said should be followed in the UK's exit negotiations with the EU.

These were: freedom of trade for UK businesses with the EU and for EU businesses with the UK, protection of residency rights for EU citizens living in the UK, and UK citizens living elsewhere in Europe, existing protections at work, the UK's role in the European Investment Bank and the rights of UK financial services to win business across the EU to be maintained.

"Any path through the negotiations that does not reflect these guidelines will be liable to have severe consequences for jobs and protections at work," he said.

His friend Mr Corbyn has been accused of failing to campaign hard enough for a Remain win in the UK's referendum on its EU membership last week.

And after the resignation of PM David Cameron, there were concerns among Labour MPs that Mr Corbyn could not lead Labour to victory if a snap general election was called.

Senior Labour figures, including Mr Corbyn's predecessor as leader, Ed Miliband, have said his position is untenable.

Former frontbenchers Ms Eagle and Mr Smith are still to decide which of them has the best chance of beating Jeremy Corbyn in a leadership contest, if he does not give up.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Jeremy Corbyn has been criticised for comments about Israel But Mr McDonnell said the UK needed stability and he believed that "internal difficulties" would be resolved "hopefully by democratic means" and the Labour Party "amicably" would "come back together".

"If there is to be a challenge to Jeremy Corbyn, in terms of a leadership contest, that will emerge I suspect over the next few days.

"If that is the case, my message to all Labour MPs now is just 'calm down', let's do our job. It isn't just our party members who need us to do our job, it is the country that need us to do our job."

Some 60,000 people have joined the Labour Party in the last week, sources say, but it is not clear whether they would support Mr Corbyn in a leadership vote or oppose him.

Mr McDonnell said he had been accused of both planning to oust Mr Corbyn and of forcing him to stay: "Let me make it absolutely clear: I will never stand for leader of the Labour Party. If Jeremy stands and there is a leadership campaign, I will chair his campaign committee."

Ms Eagle had been expected to launch a bid for the Labour leadership but a source close to her told the BBC she was waiting to give Mr Corbyn time to "do the right thing" and step down.

A majority of Labour members of the Scottish Parliament have signed a letter calling for Jeremy Corbyn to go.

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale has said she would quit if she had suffered the same loss of support as Mr Corbyn.

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