UK Politics

Labour leadership: Corbyn, Eagle and Smith take part in hustings

Owen Smith and Angela Eagle
Image caption Mr Smith and Ms Eagle both say Labour needs new leadership but disagree over who is best placed to provide it

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and his two challengers, Angela Eagle and Owen Smith, have taken part in a hustings in front of Labour MPs.

Mr Smith and Ms Eagle have both launched leadership bids but Mr Smith has said only one of them should stand against Mr Corbyn in the final vote.

He has indicated that he would withdraw from the contest if Ms Eagle won more support among Labour MPs.

The contest was prompted after Mr Corbyn lost a vote of no confidence.

Speaking afterwards, Ms Eagle said the debate had gone "very well".

One of her supporters told BBC political correspondent Iain Watson she had shown "more substance" while an MP backing Mr Smith said only he could unite the Labour Party.

Nominations for the leadership contest open later on Monday, with an initial list of which MPs are backing whom to be published on Tuesday evening.

As challengers, Mr Smith and Ms Eagle need nominations from 51 MPs and MEPs to get on the ballot paper while, as the incumbent leader, Mr Corbyn is automatically entitled to stand.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn took part in the hustings

During his leadership launch on Sunday, Mr Smith said the contender with the most backing should become the unity candidate to take on Mr Corbyn - a view shared by senior colleagues.

Mr Corbyn has vowed to fight the challengers, but in the latest in a string of rows over the vote he has said he thinks rules which exclude recently signed-up Labour members from voting in the contest are "not very fair".

He told the BBC's Sunday Politics programme that he wants the party's National Executive Committee to change the restrictions, adding that he believes the £25 fee for registered supporters to vote in the contest is too high.

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