‘I’m not a Blairite, Brownite or Corbynista’, says Eagle

The MP launched her Labour leadership bid in London this morning


Angela Eagle has launched her bid to become leader of the Labour Party at an event in central London, following weeks of speculation.

In a polished speech, Eagle said she would not take the step if she did not believe she had something to offer ‘to bring our party and our country back together’ or if she didn’t believe she would be a good prime minister.

She reinforced her belief that Jeremy Corbyn is unable to provide the leadership necessary in the aftermath of the EU referendum, and said that she ‘will not stand back and allow Britain to become a one-party Tory state’.

While she did not discuss any specific policy proposals, Eagle did try to set herself apart from her predecessors:

“I’m not a Blairite.  I’m not a Brownite.  I’m not a Corbynista.  I am my own woman. A strong Labour woman.”

The launch event was well attended by Labour MPs, and Eagle was introduced by former interim leader Harriet Harman.

However, critics have pointed to her lack of support within her consticuency party members, some of whom have threatened a vote of no confidence in the MP.

Additionally 128,000 people have joined the Labour since the EU referendum, many with the intention of voting for Corbyn.

Eagle has responded to this challenge by calling on voters who support her to join as well, and help her ‘change Labour for the better’.

The acrimonious leadership contest will be further inflamed by the Commons vote on Trident, which David Cameron has announced will take place on 18 July. Opposition to Trident is a key plank of Corbyn’s politics, while Eagle will vote for renewal.

Eagle’s event was somewhat overshadowed by Andrea Leadsom’s surprise announcement that she would be withdrawing from the Tory leadership contest.

For Labour, much will now depend on whether or not Prime Minister Theresa May chooses to call an election in the autumn.

Jon Trickett, Labour’s election co-ordinator, has said that he believes a snap general election is essential and will prepare the party for that outcome.

“It is crucial,  given the instability caused by the Brexit vote,  that the country has a democratically elected Prime Minister. I am now putting the whole of the party on a General Election footing. It is time for the Labour Party to unite and ensure the millions of people in the country left behind by the Tories’ failed economic policies, have the opportunity to elect a Labour government”.

Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.