Jeremy Corbyn today staged a toe-curling show of unity with a key aide who warned he is on track to lose the election.
Andrew Fisher, who wrote the party's 2017 manifesto, delivered a scathing assessment of the 'blizzard of lies and excuses' emanating from Mr Corbyn's office in a resignation memo.
In a dig at strategy chief Seumas Milne, who was educated at prestigious public school Winchester, Mr Fisher claimed the team was in the grip of a 'class war'.
Mr Corbyn desperately scrambled to play down the spat this morning, saying the adviser had been 'distressed' when he wrote the memo and had now agreed to stay on until the end of the year.
He insisted the trio - who pointedly walked into the Labour conference centre in Brighton together - had enjoyed a 'convivial' cup of tea and were still working well.
However, the extraordinary attack from a key player is highly damaging amid claims the leader's allies have begun triggering succession plans after deciding they are 'past the high-water mark of Corbynism'.
A poll has found the Tories have opened up a 15-point lead over Labour, and two-thirds of the public disapprove of his EU policy.
Mr Corbyn dismissed rumours over his future today, telling the BBC that they were 'wishful thinking'.
Mr Corbyn tried to put a brave face on the bombshell memo from Andrew Fisher today - walking into the conference centre in Brighton with Mr Fisher (second from right) and his controversial strategy chief Seumas Milne (left)
His resignation will be a significant blow to 70-year-old Mr Corbyn (pictured in Brighton on Saturday), who, it is claimed, may also stand down because he feels under 'incredible pressure'
Mr Corbyn insisted he will serve a full term as PM if Labour wins a general election, but said: 'I am very surprised at the question actually.'
In a memo seen by The Sunday Times and sent last week, Mr Fisher denounced Mr Corbyn's team for their 'lack of professionalism, competence and human decency.'
His resignation is a significant blow to 70-year-old Mr Corbyn, amid claims he might stand down because of 'incredible pressure'.
A Labour source said: 'We don't comment on staffing matters.'
Mr Fisher is expected to stay on until the end of the year, and has played down the spat with Mr Corbyn's office in a message to colleagues - saying he wanted to prioritise his family after four years of 'long hours and stress'.
A clearly rattled Mr Corbyn said today: 'He is wanting to leave in order to spend time looking after his son and being with his wife and his family - because this is a very stressful and very full-on job.
'And he is working with us for the rest of this year - he will be here for the general election campaign, he is as we speak... downstairs.'
Asked about Mr Fisher's comments that he was sick of the 'blizzard of lies' within Mr Corbyn's team, the Labour leader said: 'I think he said that because he was extremely distressed at that point about whatever was going on in discussions within the office at that moment.'
On Mr Fisher, Mr Corbyn added: 'He is a great colleague, a great friend... I've worked with Andrew for 15 years, when I was a backbencher and many other times. He is a great writer, he's a great thinker and he's done a huge amount of work in the party.
'We get along absolutely very well and he's promised that whatever happens in the future he will be working with me on policy issues.'
It came as Mr Corbyn has said he would like to see two deputy leaders of the Labour Party - hours after a bid to scrap the elected position was abandoned.
The Labour leader said one of the deputies should be a woman to reflect the 'diversity within our society'.
It came after Tom Watson, who has repeatedly clashed with Mr Corbyn, claimed the civil war at the top of the party had undermined efforts to present itself as an alternative government.
A dramatic attempt to oust Mr Watson by scrapping his elected position had seemingly been sanctioned by Mr Corbyn.
But amid an outcry the leader abandoned the attempt and instead tabled a fudge proposal that would review the deputy leader job.
Mr Corbyn told the Sunday Mirror: 'I told the national executive we need to review how the deputy leadership works and have an election process for two deputy leaders in the future which reflects diversity within our society so one would be a woman.
'It was agreed overwhelmingly.'
He added: 'Tom is the elected deputy leader of the party and so has an important role to play.
'I work with him