A group of former Labour ministers have called on Jeremy Corbyn to quit as Labour leader amid a row over the party's official position on UK air strikes on Islamic State (Isis) targets in Syria.

Ex-Home Office minister Fiona Mactaggart and former transport minister John Spellar have urged Corbyn to resign after the former Stop The War Coalition chair wrote to Labour MPs that he opposed David Cameron's proposed intervention.

Labour veteran and Work and Pensions Committee chair Frank Field also said the party "needs an alternative leader" in an interview with LBC Radio on 27 November. But a spokesman for Corbyn told IBTimes UK that the Labour leader "won't be responding to such comments".

The left-winger has also faced open opposition from members of his shadow cabinet over the Syria issue. Hilary Benn, the party's shadow foreign secretary, argued that there was a "compelling" case for British air strikes on Isis targets inside Syria after the prime minister made his case for such an intervention to MPs on 26 November.

"We must tackle Isis in Syria, as we are doing in neighbouring Iraq, in order to deal with the threat that Isis poses to the region and to our security here at home. We have to deny a safe haven for Isis in Syria," Cameron argued.

"The longer Isis is allowed to grow in Syria, the greater the threat it will pose. It is wrong for the United Kingdom to sub-contract its security to other countries, and to expect the aircrews of other nations to carry the burdens and the risks of striking ISIL in Syria to stop terrorism here in Britain."

David Cameron makes his case for UK air strikes on Syria IBTimes UK

The prime minister also has the public's backing over the issue, according to a poll from YouGov. In the survey, of more than 1,600 voters between 23 and 24 November, 59% of people supported air strikes and only 20% of respondents disapproved of them.

But Cameron wants to secure a "clear majority" in the House of Commons before he puts a vote to parliament after he lost a vote in 2013 over his plan to bomb forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad.

Meanwhile, pro-Corbyn pressure group Momentum has called on its supporters to lobby Labour MPs over the issue in a bid to generate further support for the Labour leader's anti-war stance. Labour's shadow cabinet are now expected to meet on 30 November in a bid to resolve the dispute.

The row comes less than a week before the Oldham West and Royton by-election on 3 December. Jim McMahon is the bookies' favourite to win the seat back for Labour. Ukip are hoping to exploit the party's divisions and Corbyn's past controversial comments in a bid to get their candidate, John Bickley, elected.