Shadow health secretary Diane Abbott has told ITV's Good Morning Britain that Angela Eagle's support for the Iraq invasion and an increase in tuition fees show she is the "Empire Strikes Back" candidate against Jeremy Corbyn.
The Corbyn-supporting Abbott said her party's embattled leader must be on any leadership ballot as she played down talk of splits within the party and reports of political "Armageddon".
She joined Daily Mirror associate editor Kevin McGuire in doubting Eagle's success in a race with Mr Corbyn as the pair were questioned about the stature of a challenger who came fourth in a previous race for Labour's deputy leadership.
The shadow chancellor earned loud cheers as he launched an foul-mouthed attack on the MPs seeking to replace his friend Corbyn.
The MP for Pontypridd resigned as shadow work and pensions secretary last month in protest at Jeremy Corbyn's leadership.
I now realise that my earlier description of the NEC meeting - as an omni-shambles - was generous.