Labour has today denied that party leader Eamon Gilmore plans to remove any of the six rebel TDs and Senators from the party.
It follows another defection today as Senator James Heffernan resigned the Parliamentary Party Whip and intends to vote against certain parts of the Social Welfare Bill.
He becomes the sixth member of the Parliamentary Labour Party to resign or have the whip removed.
The others are Party Chairman Colm Keaveney, and Deputies Tommy Broughan, Patrick Nulty, Roisín Shortall and Willie Penrose.
A text from the Labour press office this evening said that any suggestion that the leader has announced his intention to remove party membership from TDs and Senators is entirely untrue.