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Published: Wed, July 13, 2016
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Second Candidate Challenges Corbyn for UK Labour Leadership


The party's ruling National Executive Committee (NEC) will meet on Tuesday before ruling on whether Mr Corbyn needs the nomination of 51 MPs and MEPs to stand in the contest, and has been presented with conflicting legal advice.

Support for Smith is understood to be growing among Labour MPs, with some who had nominated Eagle's leadership bid already switching sides to back her rival.

The opposition leader, who the majority of the party's MPs want out, said he is "delighted" with vote's result, which was 18-14 in favour of automatically including the Islington MP in the next leadership race.

Labour-commissioned analysis said Mr Corbyn will need nominations from MPs to stand again.

"All other leadership candidates will require nominations from 20 per cent of the PLP and EPLP". The implication is that Corbyn would have an automatic spot on the ballot.

Labour is engulfed in a bitter internal power struggle between Corbyn's supporters in the grassroots membership and the party's lawmakers, who overwhelmingly rejected his leadership after Britain's vote to leave the European Union last month. "I don't think people will think if Angela Eagle wins the leadership without Jeremy Corbyn being on the ballot paper that's fair".

Ms Eagle said the Labour leader needed to put a stop to the "bullying" as she was forced to re-arrange a campaign event after the manager of the hotel in Luton where she was supposed to be speaking was threatened.

But the 46-year-old has been a member of the Labour party since he was 16, and was special advisor to Mr Paul Murphy, the Labour government minister in charge of Wales and then Northern Ireland, between 2002 and 2005.

The NEC's decision will come as a major blow for the majority of Labour MPs.

Angela Eagle insisted she has not embarked on a political "suicide mission" as she launched her bid to topple Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader.

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said it would be "alien to the concept of natural justice" if Mr Corbyn was blocked from defending his position.

Shadow justice minister Richard Burgon's attempt to take to social media to support his leader and ally Jeremy Corbyn in a time of turmoil hasn't exactly turned out as planned.

"I welcome the contest ahead", she said on Twitter.

Momentum, which was set up following Corbyn's Labour leadership election a year ago to garner enthusiasm in the grass roots for the left-wing of the party, said the decision to change rules by which people can vote is "not fair".

If Corbyn, who was elected last September and retains strong support among the party's more left-leaning rank-and-file members, is re-elected in the contest, the party may split.

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