Jeremy Corbyn has been forced to deny that he planned to "apply pressure" on Labour whip Conor McGinn through his father. A spokesperson for the left-wing leader claimed to IBTimes UK that McGinn's accusations were "untrue" after the St Helens North MP alleged Corbyn had planned to phone his father, a former Sinn Fein councillor, for criticising his leadership.

"It transpired that Jeremy, in deliberations about how to respond to my interview, had said that he intended to ring my father to discuss it with him and ask him to speak to me about it," McGinn told PoliticsHome.

"The Leader of the Labour Party was proposing to address an issue with one of his own MPs by ringing his Dad."

He added: "Jeremy felt that they would share a political affinity and was proposing to use that to ask my father to apply pressure on me.

"Thankfully, others dissuaded Jeremy from taking this course of action. The call was not made, and it would not have been well received"

McGinn, first elected to parliament at the 2015 general election, said he shared the claims in a bid to speak out against Corbyn's "hypocrisy" over his pledge to practice a "kinder, gentler politics". The row comes after former shadow cabinet minister Thangam Debbonaire said she was appointed and sacked from Corbyn's top team during her cancer treatment.

"It was not, I admit, well handled," Corbyn told Channel 4 News. "Unfortunately, my wish to appoint her as one of her arts spokespersons was informed to her when it shouldn't have been. I had a very long conversation with her and, of course, I apologised to her for that."

The Islington North MP now faces a leadership challenge from former shadow cabinet minister Owen Smith after a vast majority of Labour MPs (172) backed a motion of 'no confidence' against him in the wake of the EU referendum result, which saw the party's heartlands across England and Wales back a Brexit.

Labour leadership timetable

  • 18 July: Signing up as a registered supporter to vote in the election begins
  • 19 - 20 July: Number of MP nominations for each candidate to be published
  • 20 July: Deadline for people to sign up as a registered supporter closes
  • 22 August: Ballot papers will begin to be sent out around the UK, but to Labour Party members only
  • 21 September: Deadline for ballot papers to be returned is midday
  • 24 September: The election result will be announced at a Leadership Conference in Liverpool