After recently resigning as Shadow Business Secretary, Angela Eagle has announced her bid for the Labour leadership in the hope of toppling Jeremy Corbyn. While Eagle was urged by Corbyn to rethink her leadership bid in order to unite the party, Eagle claims her bid is to ‘heal the party’.
Jeremy Corbyn has had a turbulent week: after recently facing a vote of no-confidence, which ended 172-40 against him, and then watching on as many ministers resigned from the Shadow Cabinet, Corbyn now faces a leadership challenge from Angela Eagle, with talk of another potential challenge from Owen Smith to follow. With such firm opposition, it is highly possible that Corbyn could struggle to get the backing of 20% of the Labour MEPs and MPs required to get his name on the ballot paper. However, Corbyn has told the BBC that he still fully expects to have his name on the ballot paper, as in theory the rules of a Labour leadership election allow the existing leader to be on the ballot paper regardless of support. Yet there has been some controversy over this, and opinion has been divided as to whether Corbyn, as the sitting leader, would automatically be put on the ballot paper or would still require the 20% backing. Labour’s ruling committee, the NEC, will decide, and possibly have the decision challenged in court.
Eagle has accused Corbyn of failing to fulfil his foremost duty of holding ministers to account for their actions and being ready for government, in addition to failing to offer a viable alternative to the Conservative government. Eagle hopes that her own move to challenge Corbyn’s leadership will offer an opportunity to unite the currently divided party in the aftermath of the EU referendum, after emphasising Corbyn’s inability to reach out and connect to both his party members and the public voters.
Similarly, Eagle declares that the important questions now revolve around bringing hope to neglected parts of the country, protecting jobs, investments and living standards, and remaining an open and tolerant society. She has also claimed that, unlike Jeremy Corbyn, she can provide the leadership in this dark time for Labour, and has indicated in an interview with the BBC that she feels fairly confident in replacing Corbyn in the upcoming leadership election.
Profile: Angela Eagle
- Ms Eagle was first elected as MP for Wallasey in 1992, becoming one of the youngest MPs in Parliament at age 31
- Angela’s sister Maria, her twin, is also involved in politics, making them the first twins in parliament
- Yorkshire born, Ms Eagle read philosophy, politics and economics at Oxford University
- She was the first female Labour MP to come out as gay in 1997, and is in a civil partnership with Marix Exall
- Eagle stood in the deputy leadership contest in 2015 and was a cabinet minister under Gordon Brown
- She represented the Remain campaign in the EU Referendum