Published: Tue, July 12, 2016
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Angela Eagle's constituency office vandalised after leadership bid launch

Jeremy Corbyn told the BBC that he was disappointed that Angela Eagle, the party's former spokesman on business issues, had chose to launch a campaign.

Her announcement looks set to trigger civil war within the party, with Mr Corbyn likely to fight to ensure that his name is on the ballot paper for a vote of the party's members, among whom he has strong support.

Party grandees and MPs however warned against his election. But none of the options seemed to involve Corbyn quitting as leader, one ally told HuffPostUK.

She said: "I am not here for a Labour Party that just takes part".

"The Labour Party, the party of equality who pioneered anti-discrimination - it's about time they had their first elected woman leader".

He also dismissed suggestions from former shadow cabinet minister Owen Smith, who is thought to be considering his own leadership bid, that he would split the party.

The party's ruling National Executive Committee will decide this afternoon whether Mr Corbyn will automatically be on the ballot for the contest, or whether he will have to collect the signatures of 51 MPs and MEPs in order to stand.

Mr Corbyn has faced a challenge to his authority as Labour leader after losing a no-confidence vote of Labour MPs, unhappy with his performance during the European Union referendum campaign.

"Up until the 24th June Angela Eagle was supporting Jeremy Corbyn but the party was united in Wallasey..."

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

"What I want is to get a party leader who can win an election".

There are now 230 MPs and 20 MEPs, meaning a candidate in the current race must have 50 nominations.

"Angela Eagle is a serious candidate with good governmental experience and I'll be very pleased when we've got a new leader in place".

But tens of thousands of people have joined Labour in recent weeks, with many believed to have done so to keep Mr Corbyn in the top post.

She also took a swipe at one of Mr Corbyn's key messages to Labour voters previous year, declaring: "A kinder politics must be a reality, not just an empty slogan".

"I've tried to find a way forward for the party between two apparently irreconcilable decisions".

He said: "For years I've been told I'm a fixer".

In a statement, Unite said:"In this time of great economic and political uncertainty, the Labour Party must stand as the true voice and standard-bearer of working people in this country".

McCluskey also dismissed Election Data/YouGov polling that came out last night, which appears to indicate Unite members losing faith in Corbyn's leadership.

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