Corbyn 'not a leader' says sacked shadow foreign secretary Hilary Benn
Former Labour Shadow Foreign Secretary Hilary Benn

Self-described Labour "moderates" held a defiant rally on Sunday (25 September) following Jeremy Corbyn's re-election as Labour leader.

Anti-Corbyn activists gathered in The Liverpool pub in James Street, just 24 hours after Corbyn's victorious defeat over Owen Smith in the party's leadership battle.

Former Shadow Foreign Secretary Hilary Benn, who was fired by Corbyn earlier in the year, led the rally held by Labour First, with speakers including Angela Eagle, Ruth Smeeth and Yvette Cooper.

Angela Eagle MP announced at the event that she was backing a second referendum on what Brexit should look like.

She said: "Once the terms of the divorce have been established, it's only right that it is put to the British public."

Activists spilled out of the event into the street where Hilary Benn made an impromptu speech in front of a crowd of eager onlookers.

Benn, whose sacking prompted 64 frontbench resignations in June, told the crowd not to engage with politics in the "gutter" and said: "If you wrestle with a chimney sweep you're going to end up covered in soot."

He said: "The Labour party belongs to every single one of us.

"I joined when I was 17 years of age. I've been a member of the Labour Party for 45 years.

"I've given my life, as all of us in this room have done, to the Labour Party and to the labour movement.

"The values that have made Labour such an effective and powerful force in our country for bringing about change for the better - we are their guardians."

Mr Benn added: "The real task is to give the British people a sense of hope about the future.

"We cannot talk amongst ourselves. We certainly cannot carry on arguing amongst ourselves."

When questioned on The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday (25 September) as to whether he would like to see Hilary Benn in his new Shadow Cabinet, Jeremy Corbyn replied diplomatically: "I believe he wants to become the chair of the Select Committee on Brexit."

Michael Dugher, who was sacked as Shadow Culture Secretary in January, also told the crowd: "It's our party too".