Monday 11 December 2017

'Corbyn must go', says Eagle as Smith opts out

Angela Eagle. Photo: Getty Images
Angela Eagle. Photo: Getty Images
Jeremy Corbyn has insisted he is 'ready to reach out' to his enemies in the Labour party. Photo: Rick Findler/PA Wire

David Hughes

Jeremy Corbyn faced a fresh call to quit from a potential leadership challenger, who claimed there was no "effective opposition" to the British government because of the chaos in the Labour ranks.

Angela Eagle, the most senior member of the shadow cabinet to quit in the wave of resignations aimed at ousting the Labour leader, restated her view that Mr Corbyn "needs to go".

Her intervention comes after the other MP tipped as a potential challenger to Mr Corbyn backed away from confrontation with the party leader.

Owen Smith was among a raft of senior MPs who quit Mr Corbyn's shadow cabinet amid anger over his handling of the EU referendum last month, and was thought to be considering a bid for the leadership.

But he released a statement calling on the party to give peace talks currently taking place between the leader's office, deputy leader Tom Watson and the unions "every chance to succeed".

He urged all members of the Labour movement to do what they could to avoid a "disastrous" split in the party.

The Pontypridd MP said: "Over the last week, I have been contacted by hundreds of Labour members and MPs deeply worried that the Labour Party is truly in danger of splitting apart. I share those fears and call on everyone in our movement to do all we can to avert such a disastrous outcome."

Mr Corbyn has resisted calls to step down as leader after MPs voted by 172-40 that they had no confidence in him.

Speaking to reporters outside her home, Ms Eagle would not be drawn on whether she would launch a leadership challenge.

But she said: "The country doesn't have an effective opposition at the moment. Jeremy Corbyn needs to go."

Irish Independent

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