LABOUR’s conference is in chaos over an aborted coup by left-wingers to depose the democratically-elected deputy leader of the party.

Senior figures in the Momentum group, which is pro-Jeremy Corbyn, abandoned plans to abolish a post currently held by moderate MP Tom Watson.

It was only dropped after an outcry by senior figures across the party, with Corbyn also distancing himself from the incendiary proposal.

However, further divisions emerged later in the day, after the party’s governing body proposed that Labour should delay taking a position on whether it would back Remain in any second Brexit referendum until after a general election.

Labour’s annual conference, which is being held in Brighton, was supposed to be a unifying affair designed to attack the Tory Government.

But it quickly descended into farce after Momentum's Jon Lansman and the Unite trade union backed a plan on Friday to oust Watson.

Although Corbyn’s supporters dominate Labour's internal structures, the deputy post is still held by Watson, who has criticised the leadership on anti-semitism and Brexit.

Watson also has a poor relationship with Unite general secretary Len McCluskey, a key party power broker and Corbyn ally.

The proposal did not generate the necessary support on Friday, but it was made clear that it would be brought back for a vote at the party’s national executive committee on Saturday.

Watson said on Saturday morning: “I got a text message in a Chinese restaurant saying they were abolishing me. It’s a straight sectarian attack on a broad church party. It’s turning us into an institution where pluralism isn’t tolerated.”

He added: “Jeremy can stop it if he wants to this morning. I’m sure he’s been reflecting on it.”

The plan caused anger on all wings of the party, as it was deemed to be a divisive move at a time when Labour needed to be united.

Former leader Tony Blair said: “A decision to abolish the post of Deputy Leader would be undemocratic, damaging and politically dangerous. To suggest it at this time shows a quite extraordinary level of destructive sectarianism.”

A spokesperson for Scottish Labour leader Richard also said he opposed the plan: “Conference should be about policies which will improve the lives of millions across the UK , and Richard will be making the case for a Labour government whenever we get a general election to secure a public vote on Brexit and investment for Scotland in his speech.”

And it was reported that Gordon Brown, Labour’s last prime minister, made representations to Corbyn and shadow chancellor John McDonnell to protest.

Another former leader, Ed Miliband, said those responsible for trying to oust Watson had "taken leave of their senses".

Former minister Yvette Cooper tweeted: "This is completely mad and incredibly destructive."

And ex Cabinet minister Ben Bradshaw said the attempt to "purge" Watson was "totally f****** insane".

The pressure led to the motion being pulled and Corbyn instead proposed a review of the deputy leader’s position.

Lansman said: "I welcome & fully support Jeremy's proposal to review Tom Watson's position.

"We need to make sure the deputy leader role is properly accountable to the membership while also unifying the party at conference.

"In my view, this review is absolutely the best way of doing that."

Asked if he had full confidence in his deputy, Corbyn said yesterday: "Tom Watson is the deputy leader of the party and I enjoy working with him."

Asked when he first knew about the plot to oust Watson, he sidestepped the question but said: "The NEC agreed this morning that we are going to consult on the future of diversifying the deputy leadership position to reflect the diversity of our society.

Within the hour, Labour moved from from being split on the deputy leader’s post to further divisions on Brexit.

Labour has slowly moved to backing a second Brexit referendum, but Corbyn has resisted pressure to unequivocally support Remain in any vote.

He said last week that, in the event of another referendum, he would stay neutral during the campaign, a position that angered senior party figures.

A draft statement from the NEC emerged yesterday which made clear that a Labour Government would try and negotiate a new Brexit deal and stage a referendum within six months of taking office.

However, it also stated that the party’s policy on whether to back Remain in that referendum would not be decided until after the election.

Critics believe the stance will confuse voters and cede ground to the Lib Dems, who are anti-Brexit.

Meanwhile, McDonnell has reiterated that Labour's next leader should be a woman.

McDonnell ruled himself out of becoming Corbyn's successor but highlighted a series of Labour MPs who could become the party's first elected female leader.

Speaking to The Times, he said: "If Jeremy got hit by the No 57 bus, or whatever it is, there's the next generation coming through.

"And the reality is the next leader should be a woman. It's high time to have a woman."

Praising some of the female talent on the Labour benches he said: "Becky (Long Bailey), Angie (Rayner), Emily (Thornberry), you name it. Dawn Butler... They've just been fantastic."