A defiant Jeremy Corbyn has said he will not "betray" his supporters by resigning following an overwhelming vote of no confidence by MPs.

The Labour leader said the vote by the Parliamentary Labour Party had no "constitutional legitimacy" under party rules.

Although there was no official announcement of the voting figures, sources said that it was 172 to 40 in support of the motion with four spoilt papers.

Speculation has been rife that deputy leader Tom Watson or former shadow business secretary and Wallasey MP Angela Eagle - who quit the shadow cabinet on Monday - could run as a "unity" candidate.

According to Sky News, Mr Watson and Ms Eagle are meeting to discuss how to bring about the leadership challenge.

However it appears Ms Eagle has defied the wishes of the Wallasey Constituency Labour Party by not rejecting the motion of no confidence against Mr Corbyn.

A letter from the CLP has been retweeted by Corbyn loyalist MP Diane Abbott which says the annual meeting of the Wallasey party held on Friday "was overwhelmigly behind Jeremy continuing as Labour leader."

It goes on: "The idea that the Labour party would rather miss the chance to capitalise on the splits in the Tory party by in fighting was not acceptable to members.

“On behalf of the constituency I would ask you to make a clear public statement of support for him.”

The letter is signed by Kathy Miller and Kathy Runswick, chair and secretary of Wallasey CLP.

A Labour source loyal to Mr Corbyn insisted "our support is still strong" and any attempt to oust the leader would amount to "shoving two fingers up to democracy".

"There are a lot of flat earthers out there who have got to come to terms with the fact the world is not as they like it," the source said.

The source poured scorn on the prospect of a challenge from Ms Eagle saying she would be "the ideal candidate for us" because of her voting record on issues such as the air strikes against Syria.

In a statement, Mr Corbyn said: "I was democratically elected leader of our party for a new kind of politics by 60% of Labour members and supporters, and I will not betray them by resigning. Today's vote by MPs has no constitutional legitimacy.

"We are a democratic party, with a clear constitution. Our people need Labour party members, trade unionists and MPs to unite behind my leadership at a critical time for our country."

Mr Corbyn's determination to fight on - despite the vote and the walk-out of dozens of shadow ministers - means the Labour rebels will have to mount a formal leadership challenge if they want to oust him.

Mr Corbyn's supporters are confident that he will win out in a ballot of grassroots activists who swept him to the leadership last year and who will decide the outcome of any contest.

His team insist that if there is a challenge, he will automatically be on the ballot paper as the incumbent party leader.

But some in the party have argued that under party rules he will need the nominations of 50 MPs and MEPs in which case he could struggle to get the necessary support.