Angela Eagle is running to be deputy leader. Photo: YouTube screengrab
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Angela Eagle announces that she will stand to be deputy Labour leader

Angela Eagle declares that she will be running for the deputy Labour leadership.

Angela Eagle, MP for Wallasey, is running for the deputy leadership of the Labour party.

An MP since 1992, Eagle has held a number of positions in both the last Labour government and in opposition. Most notably, she served as Pensions Minister under Gordon Brown, and has been shadow leader of the House of Commons (a position she still holds) since 2012.

Eagle is a popular MP locally (she managed to double her majority to over 16,000 this election), and one of Labour's quietly influential figures. She used to head up the National Executive Committee, and is currently chair of the party's National Policy Forum. An experienced candidate, Eagle has been in politics longer than the other potential deputy leadership contenders, and did well under Brown.

Her pitch centres on the idea of unity, both of the country and the party, and a robust debate about Labour's future.

She appears alongside a number of Labour activists holding up placards giving their reason for backing her for the post ("I'm ready for Angela because..."). One refers to David Cameron's infamous instruction to Eagle in the Commons to "calm down dear".

She says:

We are at a critical time and I care about the road we take. It is vital that the leadership team unites the party and takes us forward.  

The General Election result was bad, it is now time to debate, take stock, and then pick ourselves up to become the formidable team we can be to win in 2020.  I am ready to contribute to that effort.

Her view on Labour's economic challenge is:

Labour must be the answer to a prosperous and successful economy in a twenty first century world where past success is no guarantee of future fortune. This means the whole country being rich with opportunity north and south, east and west.

We have to challenge current economic orthodoxies and trickle-down economics head on. We must never be against wealth creation but we can be against tax evasion and we can insist on fair rules for those at the top as well as those at the bottom of the income scale. Labour must also be at the forefront of building a new economic settlement rooted in rewarding innovation and skills. This new economy needs to be based on developing
opportunities for all our people.

Here's her campaign launch film:

Anoosh Chakelian is deputy web editor at the New Statesman.

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Jeremy Corbyn challenged by Labour MPs to sack Ken Livingstone from defence review

Former mayor of London criticised at PLP meeting over comments on 7 July bombings. 

After Jeremy Corbyn's decision to give Labour MPs a free vote over air strikes in Syria, tonight's Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) meeting was less fractious than it could have been. But one grandee was still moved to declare that the "ferocity" of the attacks on the leader made it the most "uplifting" he had attended.

Margaret Beckett, the former foreign secretary, told the meeting: "We cannot unite the party if the leader's office is determined to divide us." Several MPs said afterwards that many of those who shared Corbyn's opposition to air strikes believed he had mishandled the process by appealing to MPs over the heads of the shadow cabinet and then to members. David Winnick declared that those who favoured military action faced a "shakedown" and deselection by Momentum activists. "It is completely unacceptable. They are a party within a party," he said of the Corbyn-aligned group. The "huge applause" for Hilary Benn, who favours intervention, far outweighed that for the leader, I'm told. 

There was also loud agreement when Jack Dromey condemned Ken Livingstone for blaming Tony Blair's invasion of Iraq for the 7 July 2005 bombings. Along with Angela Smith MP, Dromey demanded that Livingstone be sacked as the co-chair of Labour's defence review. Significantly, Benn said aftewards that he agreed with every word Dromey had said. Corbyn's office has previously said that it is up to the NEC, not the leader, whether the former London mayor holds the position. In reference to 7 July, an aide repeated Corbyn's statement that he preferred to "remember the brilliant words Ken used after 7/7". 

As on previous occasions, MPs complained that the leader failed to answer the questions that were put to him. A shadow minister told me that he "dodged" one on whether he believed the UK should end air strikes against Isis in Iraq. In reference to Syria, a Corbyn aide said afterwards that "There was significant support for the leader. There was a wide debate, with people speaking on both sides of the arguments." After David Cameron's decision to call a vote on air strikes for Wednesday, leaving only a day for debate, the number of Labour MPs backing intervention is likely to fall. One shadow minister told me that as few as 40-50 may back the government, though most expect the total to be closer to the original figure of 99. 

At the end of another remarkable day in Labour's history, a Corbyn aide concluded: "It was always going to be a bumpy ride when you have a leader who was elected by a large number outside parliament but whose support in the PLP is quite limited. There are a small number who find it hard to come to terms with that result."

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.