Angela Eagle was targeted by Jeremy Corbyn supporters over leadership challenge, says Labour party report

Posted On: 
19th October 2016

Angela Eagle was subjected to homophobic abuse and had her office window bricked after announcing plans to challenge Jeremy Corbyn for the Labour leadership, a party probe has confirmed.

Angela Eagle's local Labour party is riven by splits
Credit: 
PA Images

The findings of the inquiry, which were published yesterday, contradict claims by some members of her Wallasey constituency Labour party that the allegations were invented to make Mr Corbyn look bad.

A window in Ms Eagle's office was smashed in July, the day after she announced she would run for the leadership. It was claimed by some that the former shadow business secretary had not been the target of the brick attack.

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But the findings of an official Labour party probe, which were published at a meeting in London yesterday, said: "It’s highly likely that the brick thrown through the window of Angela Eagle’s office was related to her leadership challenge. The position of the window made it very unlikely that this was a random passer-by."

HOMOPHOBIA

The report also said claims the attack was aimed at another company using the same building, or that Ms Eagle had been lying about it, were "categorically untrue".

On claims Ms Eagle - who is gay - was subjected to homophobic abuse at her local party's AGM, the report said: "The investigation has found that some members have truthfully claimed that homophobic instances occurred during the AGM. Others truthfully said that they were not aware of those instances.

"It is possible for the events to have occurred without the knowledge of all members. The allegations are not that the CLP is institutionally homophobic or that members were aware of homophobia but took no action, but are specific to individuals."

Elsewhere, the report said there remains a "toxic" culture within Wallasey CLP, and recommended that its suspension should continue until at least next spring, when a further review of the situation will be carried out.

It said: "The office of Angela Eagle has endured a significant amount of abuse, including abusive and intimidating phone calls. The investigation has received many hundreds of abusive, homophobic, and frightening messages that have been sent by Labour members to Angela Eagle.

"The current atmosphere in the CLP is toxic and divided in the extreme. It is not possible for the CLP to safely meet in the current climate, and the party should support them to move forward."

Mr Corbyn - who has previously condemned the abuse suffered by Ms Eagle - also attended yesterday's meeting, and argued that a deadline be put on the CLP's suspension so normal political campaigning in the area can resume.

VANDALISM

In a statement, Ms Eagle said: "I am proud to have been the Member of Parliament for Wallasey for 24 years and to have had a good relationship with most local Labour activists for all of that time.

“I am grateful that Jeremy took the unusual step of both attending and speaking in the meeting and that he expressed sincere sympathy for both me and for my staff.

“It is now clear and accepted by the NEC that homophobic abuse was perpetrated by some members of the local party; I will simply not tolerate it, and I know I have the backing of both Jeremy and union leaders when I say that there is no place for it in the Labour movement either.

“As regards the vandalism of my office, I am grateful to both the internal investigators and the NEC for making clear both the facts of the matter and for the support of members up and down the country, including the leader of the Labour party, that such abuse both happened and is intolerable.”

A spokesman for Mr Corbyn said: "Jeremy wants the issues relating to Wallasey CLP to be resolved so campaigning can resume."

Ms Eagle withdrew her leadership challenge after rival candidate Owen Smith received more support from MPs. Mr Smith was eventually defeated by Mr Corbyn, who was re-elected leader with 62% of the vote.