Updated at 8pm
JEREMY CORBYN WILL face Angela Eagle for the leadership of the UK Labour Party after the party’s National Executive Committee voted that the sitting leader should be on the ballot paper in a new election.
The decision comes after a tense few hours when the committee excluded Corbyn from their meeting before conducting a secret ballot.
They were deciding whether Corbyn’s name should automatically appear on the ballot, or whether he’d need the support of 20% of Labour’s parliamentary party. It was estimated that if this was the case he would need to be nominated by 51 MPs or MEPs, in the same manner as any normal candidate.
It’s thought Corbyn would have struggled to collect the 51 nominations needed to make the ballot, as his support is concentrated among the wider grassroots membership of the party.
In a statement follwoing the meeting, the NEC said that the incumbent leader would go on the ballot without needing to be nominated.
Corbyn’s opponents had contended that he needed to be nominated while unions, who have strongly backed Corbyn, contended this was not the case.
Corbyn had also threatened legal action if the party did not included him on fresh leadership vote.
Corbyn was elected in a landslide victory last year, after a campaign that encouraged people to join Labour to cast their votes in his favour. Previously, Corbyn had been a little-known left-wing MP for decades.
The start of the fresh leadership race followed weeks of turmoil for the party. The drama began in the immediate aftermath of the Brexit referendum result, as a raft of senior spokespeople announced their resignations in protest over their leader’s perceived lacklustre performance campaigning for a Remain result.
That was followed by a non-binding vote of no confidence, which Corbyn lost – badly.
Angela Eagle, a former shadow minister, officially launched her leadership campaign yesterday, promising to bring “strong” leadership to the role. Owen Smith, another ex-senior spokesperson, is also mulling a bid.
Len McCluskey, the leader of the UK’s Unite trade union, described Eagle’s decision to challenge for the Labour leadership as a “political lynching”.
Earlier, workers at Eagle’s constituency office said that a brick was thrown through her window.
On the other side of the aisle, David Cameron has chaired his final cabinet meeting as prime minister today, with Theresa May expected to take over in the role tomorrow.
May, who has been home secretary since 2010, had been preparing for a long leadership contest of her own. However, her only remaining rival for the leadership of the Conservative party, Andrea Leadsom, announced yesterday she was withdrawing from the contest.
Removal vans have already arrived on Downing Street (below) to begin loading the Cameron family’s belongings.
A happy tune
Cameron announced yesterday that he planned to leave office much sooner than expected, in the wake of Leadsom’s surprise decision to drop out.
The outgoing PM sounded a little relieved to be leaving his post. Making his way back inside Number 10 after making his announcement yesterday, Cameron was heard humming an upbeat tune (listen below).Source: Sky News/YouTube
- With reporting by Rónán Duffy