‘Strong, gay woman’ Angela Eagle sets out plan for challenge to Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership

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Out MP Angela Eagle has set out her challenge to Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour leadership, which she will officially announce on Monday.

On Friday, saying she would announce on Monday, the former shadow business secretary accused Jeremy Corbyn of failing “to lead an organised and effective” Labour party.


Mr Corbyn has said he will fight for the leadership.

Now, speaking to Robert Person on ITV, Ms Eagle suggested that Mr Corbyn, as Labour leader should not automatically be on a leadership ballot, saying: “He will have to find the nominations.”

“I’m a gay woman with strong, Northern, working class roots. I think I’m the right person for this job at this time”.

She said: “I think we need to have somebody that can lead the Labour Party forwards and unfortunately Jeremy has lost the confidence of the vast majority of his parliamentary party.

“We need a strong and united Labour Party that can put a very compelling case to the British people to deal with the challenges that Brexit will give.”

She suggested that the leadership election would be a “battle” for the future of the Labour party.

“I think this is a battle for a healed and a united Labour party and a strong opposition to make our democracy work,” she said.

“If you want to take part in that battle, join the Labour Party now. It’s never been more important.”

Ms Eagle, a left-winger who was instrumental to Corbyn’s leadership until last week, had allegedly agreed a deal with Labour deputy leader Tom Watson following Mr Corbyn’s crushing defeat among MPs this afternoon.

If victorious, she would be the UK Labour Party’s first openly gay leader – though Scottish leader Kezia Dugdale came out last year.

Just last month, Ms Eagle told PinkNews that she would happily stand as leader of the party.

She hinted to PinkNews at the time: “I have to step very carefully here because we have a leader already… But, I enjoyed doing PMQs, let’s put it that way. I don’t think I did too badly.”

As she joined the majority of her colleagues in resigning from the shadow cabinet this week, she told the Mr Corbyn that the party needed a leader “who can unite, not divide”.

Rumours of Ms Eagle replacing Mr Corbyn first circulated in April, after frontbenchers and donors said that they see her as a viable replacement for Mr Corbyn, claiming she could unite the party in the event of a Labour civil war

The MP for Wallasey has enjoyed strong performances in the House of Commons since her appointment to the Shadow Cabinet last year, boosting the morale of Labour MPs.

Ms Eagle also performed well when she became the first LGBT MP to front Prime Minister’s Questions for her party.

The leader’s office had insisted the non-binding vote would have no impact on his leadership as he has a mandate from Labour members, but rebels have intensified calls for him to resign.

The shake up comes amid accusations that Mr Corbyn’s attempts to persuade his supporters to ‘Remain’ in the European Union was ‘lacklustre’.

At time of publication, more than 50 MPs have resigned from the front bench – including 20 of Mr Corbyn’s 31 shadow cabinet members, and many of the party’s most prominent figures.