The British Labour Party's hard left experiment was teetering on the brink of collapse this weekend with up to half of the party's senior politicians resigning from the Shadow Cabinet in disgust at Jeremy Corbyn's lackluster leadership amid reports that he deliberately sabotaged the campaign to remain in the European Union.
The shock result of Britain's referendum on membership of the European Union has sparked moderate figures within the Labour Party into action with the prospect of a snap general election in the coming months.
Many senior figures believe Corbyn would not be well placed to succeed in an election despite the Conservative Party's disarray.
Corbyn's tepid campaigning in favour of the EU became an issue of bitter division in the months leading up to the vote.
The BBC has seen leaked internal Labour Party emails that suggest Corbyn and his communications chief, Seumas Milne, deliberately sought to weaken the pro-European Union campaign.
An email about one of Corbyn's speeches claimed it was being toned down by Milne in order to reduce its effectiveness. "If he can't kill it, he will water it down so much to hope nobody notices it."
Corbyn claimed publicly that he supported the campaign to remain in the EU but he has fought against the expanding union throughout his political career.
David Cameron's resignation amid the collapse of the pound and downward spiraling economic forecasts paves the way for a Conservative leadership contest. Whoever succeeds in a vote of party members is likely to call a snap election to secure their own mandate as prime minister.
Corbyn, as the official leader of the opposition, would be expected to help fill the leadership void as Britain struggles to contend with its the greatest political crisis since the Second World War.
Many of Labour's senior politicians have decided Corbyn is not up to that job.
A late-night plot to oust Corbyn was interrupted at 3:40 a.m. (local time) by an extraordinary middle of the night statement from party leadership announcing that Hilary Benn had been sacked for his part in the attempted coup. Within hours, the BBC was reporting that as much as half of the shadow cabinet would resign in an attempt to trigger a leadership contest.
Benn, Labour's respected shadow foreign secretary, appeared on the BBC on Sunday morning to set out the case for Corbyn resigning.
"He is a good and decent man, but he is not a leader," he said.
Benn's attempt to force Corbyn out is considered all the more withering as he is not seeking the leadership himself.
Benn noted Corbyn’s weak performance during the referendum, when he failed to persuade traditional working-class Labour voters to remain in the European Union. "He didn't bring a great deal of enthusiasm to the task," said Benn.
Chuka Umunna, who was labeled Britain's Barack Obama during a brief bid for the Labour leadership last year, pleaded with Corbyn to listen to his critics after months of insisting that he still had a mandate from party members, despite the hosility from moderate party politicians.
"Either you look your flaws in the face and address them or you stick your head in the sand, destroy the Labour Party and the country suffers,” Umunna said.
Some left-wing Labour politicians reacted to the attempted coup with anger. Chris Williamson said: "I am shocked by the conniving behavior of some Labour MPs at the time of great national uncertainty. The duty is to unify not to plot."
With the Labour and Conservative parties gripped by internal wrangling, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon seized the moment on Sunday to claim that Scotland may try to prevent the result of the European referendum from being implemented.
A House of Lords study into Britain's treaty obligations with the European Union revealed a little-noticed provision that said the Scottish Government would be required to approve Britain's accession from the union despite the result of the referendum.
The referendum legislation contained no legally binding provision, leaving Britain's various provincial and national assemblies and parliaments to carry out the will of the people in any way they deem appropriate. The electorate in Scotland voted decisively to stay in the union.
Sturgeon told BBC Scotland on Sunday morning that she would consider asking the Scottish parliament to block Brexit.