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Angela Eagle is supporting Owen Smith to 'unite Labour'

Angela Eagle said she is backing Owen Smith in his bid for Labour leadership in order to unite the Labour party.

Owen Smith has received 88 nominations from Labour MPs and two from MEPs in the party's leadership contest, therefore clearing the hurdle of 51 nominations to become a candidate.

We have a Labour party at the moment that is not working. We have got a leader that does not have the confidence of his MPs and is not reaching out to the rest of 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.

– Angela Eagle
  1. National

Angela Eagle pulls out of Labour leadership race

Angela Eagle has withdrawn from the race to oust Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

ITV News' Political Editor Robert Peston has the latest:

Owen Smith sole Labour leadership challenger as Angela Eagle withdraws from race

Credit: PA

Angela Eagle has withdrawn from the contest for Labour's leadership in order to back Owen Smith as a "unity candidate" to challenge Jeremy Corbyn.

Ms Eagle was the first to mount a public challenge to the Labour leader, but decided to withdraw after it became apparent that Pontypridd MP, Mr Smith, had secured more nominations from party MPs and MEPs.

Mr Smith has obtained nominations from 88 Labour MPs and two MEPs to become a leadership candidate, easily clearing the 51 hurdle to get his name onto the ballot paper.

Among his nominators is former party leader Ed Miliband.

Incumbent leader Mr Corbyn was not required to secure nominations to take part in the contest, following a ruling by the party's National Executive Committee.

Ms Eagle said that while there had been "quite a narrow gap" in support among Labour MPs for her and Mr Smith, she had concluded it was in the best interests of the party that she dropped out.

Credit: ITV News

When I looked at the results I didn't think it was in the interests of the party that this carried on.

– Angela Eagle

Mr Smith will now go forward to fight Mr Corbyn in a ballot of party members and supporters which ends on September 24.

Speaking at Westminster, Ms Eagle said she would be backing Mr Smith in the contest, adding: "We are in lock-step together, arguing for a united Labour Party."

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  1. National

Smith will leave Labour contest if Eagle gets more support

Labour leadership challenger Owen Smith has said he will withdraw from the contest if Angela Eagle - who has also launched a bid to replace Jeremy Corbyn - secures more support from colleagues.

Mr Smith told ITV News: "I don't think that the person who doesn't command majority support in the PLP (Parliamentary Labour Party) can credibly say they are the unity candidate."

He added: "And I think the most important thing is uniting the Labour Party, we're in danger of splitting...that's why I'm standing in this contest."

Owen Smith and Angela Eagle to pitch for support from MPs in their leadership challenge

The challengers to Jeremy Corbyn's leadership, Owen Smith and Angela Eagle, will face a parliamentary Labour Party hustings event later, where they will set out their stall to fellow MPs.

Labour leadership challengers Owen Smith and Angela Eagle to pitch for support from MPs Credit: PA

Pontypridd MP, Mr Smith, said he would happily bow out if Ms Eagle had more support from MPs to give her the best shot of toppling Mr Corbyn.

Mr Smith said the leadership contender with the most support among Labour MPs should become the unity candidate to take on Mr Corbyn, a view shared by senior colleagues.

But Ms Eagle refused to give the same assurance, instead insisting that she was in the best position to beat Mr Corbyn to become leader in a national ballot of members.

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