Labour MP Owen Smith 'to stand for leader against Jeremy Corbyn'

The former work and pensions secretary quit Labour's front bench

Jon Stone
Monday 11 July 2016 18:46 BST
Owen Smith speaks at Labour party conference
Owen Smith speaks at Labour party conference (PA)

Labour MP Owen Smith has decided to run to be the leader of his party, it has been reported.

Mr Smith, who served as shadow work and pensions secretary under Jeremy Corbyn, could declare his candidacy as Tuesday, the PoliticsHome website says.

The report follows the launch of Anglea Eagle’s campaign on Monday and the start of the Labour leadership contest.

Mr Smith’s office was not answering the phone on Monday evening.

Labour’s general secretary Iain McNicol today confirmed that Ms Eagle had submitted the required 50 nominations to trigger a leadership contest.

Mr Smith resigned from the front bench on 26 June, citing worries that Mr Corbyn had not been able to hold together a shadow cabinet that “draws upon the talents” of the whole party.

He is one of dozens of Labour MPs who has resigned of the Labour leader’s record.

Mr Smith and Ms Eagle were reportedly at odds over the last few weeks over who should be the candidate to challenge Mr Corbyn.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn

Ms Eagle’s launch today was partially overshadowed by news that Theresa May was to be the new Prime Minister – after her last rival sensationally quit the Tory leadership race.

"Jeremy Corbyn is unable to provide the leadership this huge task needs," she said at her launch event.

It is not yet clear whether Mr Corbyn will be automatically on the ballot paper in the leadership contest, or whether he would also have to gather nominations.

This might be difficult for him because of his very low levels of parliamentary support among MPs.

Legal advice given to the Labour party says that as an incumbent he ought to be represented in the race; this is however disputed.

Mr Corbyn was elected just in September by a landslide of Labour members, supporters and affiliated trade unionists.

Party grandees and MPs however warned against his election.

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