In a sudden turn of events, Angela Eagle has today announced she has dropped out of the current race for the Labour leadership. She has said that she will back contestant Owen Smith ‘with all her might‘.
The ex-shadow Business Secretary has decided to leave the contest for the Labour leadership after being the first to formally challenge current leader Jeremy Corbyn. This comes after Mr Owen Smith won a higher backing of MPs, and Ms Eagle has said that she will back Mr Smith with all her enthusiasm.
This means that Mr Smith will now go up against Mr Corbyn in a head-to-head race, with Mr Corbyn still confident that he can hold on to the leadership. Mr Smith’s backing includes 90 MPs and MEPs, with the support of the former Labour leader Ed Miliband included.
Ms Eagle said she would now aim to be in strong partnership with Mr Smith in the hope of providing a united opposition to Jeremy Corbyn, after both candidates said they believed he had failed as a leader. Indeed Mr Smith has said he wants Ms Eagle to be his right-hand woman during the forthcoming contest.
While Owen Smith has based his campaign towards securing the unification of the Labour Party, Mr Smith’s campaign does not promote an unpheaval of Mr Corbyn’s political agenda, but rather an alternative figurehead for MP’s and voters disillusioned with Jeremy Corbyn’s unorthodox approach. In an interview with Channel 4 News, Smith declared:
“I am on the left of the Labour Party, I share many of Jeremy’s values but I think I can talk about modernising those values, I think I can talk about Labour’s future, in a way in which no other candidate, including Angela, can,”
The ballot papers for the contest now between Mr Smith and Mr Corbyn will be sent out on the 22 August to Labour party members only, with the deadline closing on the 21 September, and the final result will be announced on the 24 September.