Jeremy Corbyn has vowed that he will stay as Labour party leader and issued a warning to those who want to topple him if the party does badly in May's local elections. His defiance follows the suspensions from Labour of MP Naz Shah, ex-London mayor Ken Livingstone and three local councillors for alleged anti-Semitic comments.

Corbyn told the Labour-leaning newspaper The Mirror: "What there is is a very small number of people that have said things that they should not have done.

"We have therefore said they will be suspended and investigated."

He said that the setting up of a commission to investigate charges of anti-Semitism and other forms of racism within the party headed up by charity campaigner Shami Chakrabarti was not evidence of a problem.

He added that he had been elected "with a very big mandate to do the job and I am doing the job", warning opponents that they needed to "respect the mandate".

Meanwhile, Labour frontbenchers are reportedly threatening to resign over Corbyn's handling of the anti-Semitism crisis with claims that Jewish donors are abandoning the party.

Ronald Cohen who has given the party more than £2.5m, told the Times: "There is no room for racism among the values of the Labour party. If the leadership does not stamp out racism now, racism will stamp out the Labour party."

One Labour source also told the paper: "People who are doing frontbench jobs, who are on the soft left, are quite embarrassed now about the fact they are linked to this team.

"After the local elections a few people might prise themselves away from it. A lot of them are saying, 'Why are we making excuses for this team all the time?' You could certainly see some shift in personnel."