Angela Eagle says 'I’m here to win' at launch of Labour leadership bid

Angela Eagle Ministerial Portrait

Angela Eagle has formally launched her bid to replace Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader, arguing that the party desperately needed a unifying force who could win a general election.

“Jeremy Corbyn is unable to provide the leadership that this huge task needs,” she told an audience of press and noisy supporters in central London. “I believe I can.”

Eagle, who has been considering a leadership bid since resigning as shadow business secretary in late June, said the party needed to move beyond the factionalism and divisions of the Corbyn era.

“I’m not a Blairite, I’m not a Brownite, and I’m not a Corbynista. I am my own woman – a strong Labour woman,” she said. “I’m not here for a Labour party that just takes part. I’m here to win.”

The event started at precisely the moment Andrea Leadsom announced she was dropping out of the race to become Conservative party leader, paving the way for Theresa May to take over as prime minister immediately, rendering some parts of Eagle’s speech obsolete even as she read them – she said the presence in office of “a failed prime minister” made the need for a strong opposition all the greater.

Her speech contained no specific policy ideas, only general commitments to ideas such as social mobility and equality. Eagle’s main pitch to the party members who will, most likely, vote between her, Corbyn and any other candidate who might emerge, was that Labour needed a strong leader in the aftermath of the EU referendum.

“Today I’m announcing my decision to stand for the leadership of the Labour party,” she began. “I wouldn’t do this if I didn’t think I had something to offer to bring our party and our country back together. I wouldn’t do this if I didn’t think I would be a good prime minister for Britain.

“These are dark times for Labour, and they are dangerous times for our country. A referendum to settle an argument in the Conservative party has resulted in the country being torn apart – our economy damaged, our society hurt.”

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Peter Walker, for theguardian.com on Monday 11th July 2016 13.09 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010