Angela Eagle will officially launch her challenge for the Labour Party leadership on Monday. The former shadow Business Secretary is set to make the announcement when she addresses the media at 12:00 p.m. BST (7:00 a.m. ET).
Eagle, 55, has been touted as a likely candidate to challenge Jeremy Corbyn ever since the internal coup against his leadership got underway a couple of weeks ago. Corbyn has continually refused to resign despite losing a vote of confidence and the majority of his own MPs calling for his resignation.
If Eagle’s challenge gets the backing of more than 51 MPs and MEPs, Labour party rules mean that it will automatically trigger a leadership contest. Should Eagle win that contest, it will mean that both the Tory and Labour leaders will be women for the first time in British history.
For many people, however, Eagle is an unknown quantity of sorts. Scroll down to find out who she is and what she stands for.
Who is Angela Eagle?
- She has been the MP for Wallasey in Merseyside for 25 years, making her a very experienced parliamentarian.
- She became just the second openly lesbian MP when she came out during a newspaper interview in 1997.
- She has held numerous shadow cabinet positions under different Labour leaders. Under Ed Miliband, she served as shadow leader of the House of Commons, and under Corbyn was shadow Business Secretary and Shadow First Minister until she resigned in protest against his divisive leadership.
- Eagle is well-respected among Labour MPs but isn’t hugely popular with Labour supporters. She came just 4th in last year’s Labour deputy leadership election, and only 1% of Labour voters see her as the “best” replacement for Corbyn, according to a YouGov survey published just over a week ago.
- She has performed impressively in the House of Commons when called upon to stand in for Corbyn.
What does she stand for?
- Eagle is a party loyalist and has usually voted with the party leadership on most issues.
- She has taken a liberal stance on a number of social issues. She voted in favour of same-sex marriage, banning fox hunting, and legalising assisted dying for sufferers of terminal illness.
- Eagle has supported military action overseas on numerous occasions — something that could be used against her in light of the Chilcot Inquiry. She voted in favour of the Iraq invasion and more recently backed extended airstrikes to Syria in 2015.
- Generally, Eagle has voted against slashing welfare. However, she was one of the Labour MPs who did not vote against the government’s sweeping welfare cuts of last summer.
- Eagle first supported the idea of tuition fees when introduced by Tony Blair but voted against Tory plans to raise the figure to £9,000 per year.
- She has a consistent record on voting against the marketisation of schools and hospitals.
- She supports the renewal of the Trident nuclear weapons system and has voted against plans to scrap it.
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