A number of Labour frontbenchers say they would consider their positions if leader backed idea

Jeremy Corbyn could face up to a dozen resignations from the Labour frontbench if the party backs a second referendum as a way out of the Brexit crisis.

A string of junior shadow ministers have told the Guardian they are strongly opposed to the idea of a second referendum, which they fear would expose Labour to a vicious backlash in leave-voting constituencies.

The development follows another tense day of brinkmanship in Westminster between Theresa May and the Labour leader as they seek a way out of the crisis that has engulfed both major parties.

Corbyn refused to enter talks with Theresa May on Thursday until she ruled out the idea of a no-deal departure, and demanded that his party’s MPs refuse similar invitations. Later May wrote to Corbyn telling him that ruling out no-deal was “an impossible condition” and calling on him to join cross-party discussions.

With no sign of the impasse being broken, pressure is growing on Labour to consider a so-called people’s vote as the UK prepares to leave the EU on 29 March.

With Corbyn’s hopes of a general election fading with the prime minister’s narrow victory in the no-confidence vote, some Labour supporters are raising pressure on Corbyn to support a second referendum.

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