Labour MPs are urging their left-wing leader Jeremy Corbyn to condemn socialist President Nicolas Maduro for his power-grab in Venezuela. The international community has spoken out against Maduro and the US has described the south American leader as a "dictator" as he plans to create a new legislative body.
The all-powerful Constituent Assembly will be able to overrule the opposition-led National Assembly after the Venezuelan electorate backed the creation of the group in a Sunday 30 July vote, which was boycotted by the opposition.
More than 100 people have been killed in clashes between anti-government activists and riot police in Caracas, Venezuela's capital, since demonstrations began in April.
Government forces have also jailed opposition leaders Leopoldo Lopez, 46, and Antonio Ledezma, 62, because they were apparently planning to flee house arrest.
"We mourn all those who have been killed and injured in the protests leading up to this election, and we urge everyone in Venezuela, on all sides, to end the bloodshed immediately," said Labour's shadow foreign minister Liz McInnes.
"In particular, we urge the government of Venezuela to recognise its responsibilities to protect human rights, free speech and the rule of law. The outcome of this election cannot be treated as a mandate for a further escalation of repression, division, and violence.
"President Maduro must also respond personally to the legitimate concerns of the international community about the increasingly authoritarian nature of his rule and the growing hardship facing his people."
But Corbyn, a supporter of Maduro's predecessor Hugo Chavez, has remained on silent as the unrest continues in Venezuela.
"I think Corbyn needs to condemn the actions of the Venezuelan regime, which are a very serious threat to democracy in that country," Labour MP Angela Smith told The Times.
A spokesperson for the Labour leader said McInnes' statement reflected the party's position.
UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, meanwhile, has warned that Venezuela "stands on the brink of disaster. The country is turning on itself – more than 100 have died already – and democracy and basic rights are in jeopardy.
"The dubious Constituent Assembly vote has dramatically deepened the problems and ramped up tensions. It is time for the government to see sense and start working with the opposition on a way forward that brings the people of Venezuela back together."