Angela Eagle launches bid to topple Jeremy Corbyn with pledge to 'save' Labour
Angela Eagle will today formally launch her Labour leadership bid with a pledge to “save” the party from demise at the hands of Jeremy Corbyn.
Mr Corbyn has refused to quit as leader despite more than 60 Labour MPs resigning their frontbench positions in an attempt to force him out and an overwhelming vote of no confidence.
Ms Eagle said she wanted to "make the Labour party relevant again" as she prepared to launch her challenge after talks to ease Mr Corbyn out of his role broke down.
But a huge row is being teed up between Mr Corbyn, his supporters and the rest of the party over whether he would automatically be on the ballot paper in a leadership contest.
In an interview with the Daily Mirror, former shadow business secretary Ms Eagle said: "The Labour party needs to be saved.
“I'm stepping up to the plate to say it's about time that we did this so we can make the Labour party relevant again and so we can contend for government.”
She argued despite his principles, the party under Mr Corbyn was not "communicating with our voters" and stressed her northern working class roots as well as her experience with “metropolitan things”.
Ms Eagle said she wanted to "ensure our country can be healed after the terrible shock that Brexit is going to inflict on it.”
And she added: "I'm a gay woman - I know the difference between hope and fear."
But Ms Eagle faces a backlash from her constituents in Wallasey, Merseyside, after the local Labour party passed a motion of support for Mr Corbyn last week.
She will apparently be joined by former shadow foreign secretary Hilary Benn as she launches her bid, who was sacked from his post recently after saying he had no confidence in Mr Corbyn.
Yesterday Mr Benn launched a tirade against Jon Lansman, the founder of pro-Corbyn campaign group Momentum, who said winning elections mattered to "political elites".
It has been suggested that Mr Corbyn would need to find the support of 51 Labour MPs in order to be on the ballot, as Neil Kinnock did in 1988 when he was challenged by Tony Benn.
The decision on whether he would be automatically on the ballot or would need to seek nominations from colleagues will be decided in the coming days by the party's National Executive Committee.
Yesterday the leader suggested he might take legal action against the NEC if it rules against him.