Angela Eagle has withdrawn from the contest for Britain’s Labour’s leadership in order to back Owen Smith as a “unity candidate” to challenge Jeremy Corbyn.
Eagle was the first to mount a public challenge to the Labour leader, but decided to withdraw after it became apparent that Smith had secured more nominations from party MPs and MEPs.
Former opposition work and pensions secretary Smith will now go forward to fight Corbyn in a ballot of party members and supporters which ends on September 24.
Speaking at Westminster, Eagle said she would be backing Smith in the contest, adding: “We are in lock-step together, arguing for a united Labour Party.”
Eagle said: “We have a Labour Party at the moment that is not working, we’ve got a leader that doesn’t have the confidence of his Members of Parliament and isn’t reaching out to the country.
“We need to have a strong and united Labour Party so we can be a good opposition, take the fight to the Conservative Government and heal our country.
“So I am announcing tonight that I will be supporting Owen in that endeavour with all my enthusiasm and might.”