09/08/2016 05:05 EDT | Updated 09/08/2016 07:25 EDT

Thomas Mulcair Doubles Down Amid Growing Pressure To Step Down

Knives are out.

OTTAWA — Tom Mulcair is doubling down on his commitment to stay on as interim federal NDP leader despite mounting pressure for him to step aside ahead of a caucus retreat next week in Montreal.

In a statement, Mulcair says he is committed to staying because the caucus voted last spring to keep him in place until a new leader is selected.

Thomas Mulcair speaks to media in Ottawa on April 13, 2016. (Photo: Adrian Wyld/CP)

Veteran BC NDP MP Nathan Cullen, who is not running in the race to replace Mulcair, acknowledges internal matters like interim leadership will need to be discussed in Montreal.

A number of party members — including current and former MPs who spoke to The Canadian Press on the condition of anonymity — are saying it's time for Mulcair to step aside as the party tries to rebuild itself in wake of its stinging 2015 election defeat.

Quebec MP Romeo Saganash says he believes Mulcair should keep his job.

In April, Mulcair faced NDP faithful in Edmonton and received a resounding message that he should step away as the permanent chief of the party — a move that was unprecedented in Canadian political history.

Following the convention, the NDP caucus held a vote and all but two MPs agreed Mulcair should stay on in the interim to lead the team of 44 MPs.

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