Second MP to stand for Labour party leadership contest
A second former aide of beleaguered Labour party chief Jeremy Corbyn came forward on Wednesday as a potential candidate to replace the opposition leader who is facing calls for his ouster in the wake of the Brexit vote.
Owen Smith, who quit as shadow work and pensions secretary from Corbyn’s shadow cabinet last month, joins Angela Eagle in a bid to oust the leader who has become increasingly unpopular within the party ranks.
“Whilst Jeremy is a good man with great Labour values who has done a lot for this party and I think changed the debate in this country about our economy - he’s been right about lots of things - but he is not a leader who can lead us into an election and win for Labour,” he said. Smith will need the support of 51 MPs or MEPs to be eligible to stand in the contest.
On Tuesday, Labour’s National Executive Committee ruled that Corbyn should automatically be in the contest, an issue which had caused much controversy after some MPs had insisted he should be subjected to the same criteria of requiring the support of 51 MPs and MEPs.
The party will announce the election timetable tomorrow but the contest is expected to take two months, with the winner to be announced on the eve of the Labour Party conference on September 24.
Labour Party members, affiliated trade union supporters and so-called registered supporters are able to vote although there are some key differences from the 2015 contest, which Corbyn won last year. Labour members need to have signed up on or before January 12 this year to be eligible to vote in the new election.
Nearly 130,000 people have become members alone since the EU referendum. As it stands, they
won’t automatically be able to take part.