And then there were three …
Owen Smith this morning confirmed he will run for the Labour leadership just hours after the party’s ruling body confirmed Jeremy Corbyn automatically has a place on the ballot.
After another madcap 24-hour period for Labour, Smith today vowed to be a “radical and credible” leader and to stave off a split in the party. The ex-shadow Work and Pensions Secretary presents a different proposition to Eagle, in part because of his opposition to the Iraq War, but echoed some of her criticisms of Corbyn who, he said, had suffered a “dramatic collapse of faith and confidence”. Smith and Eagle are now expected to do battle for the right to be the single backbench candidate to take on Corbyn.
The members’ vote closes on Wednesday 21 September with the result announced on Saturday 24 September, according to a leaked timetable, dashing hopes of a swift contest now the Tories have settled their own leadership question.
And, crucially, the party has imposed a freeze date of January 12, meaning members who joined over the last six months are not handed a vote. However they do have the option, it seems, of signing up as registered supporters, although the cost has been hiked from £3 to £25. Today a key Momentum organiser described the new rules as unfair while centrist group Labour First said the NEC had closed “some of the loopholes”.
After all this it seems a long time ago that, yesterday morning, we learnt that yobs had thrown a brick through the window of Eagle’s constituency office.
This moronic behaviour has no place in the party and it is, so far, unclear who carried out the attack. Last night the Wallasey MP condemned some Corbyn supporters for “orchestrating” bullying behaviour while the leader has said he “utterly” condemns any violence of threats. Lets hope the leadership election is conducted in a better tone.
From Labourlist 13th July 2016