Margaret Beckett writes to fellow Labour MPs urging them to back Angela Eagle for the deputy leadership

Former deputy leader Margaret Beckett has endorsed Angela Eagle's bid for the deputy leadership.

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Margaret Beckett, a former deputy leader of the Labour Party, Foreign Secretary and MP for Derby North, has written to members of the PLP urging them to give their support to Angela Eagle in her bid for the deputy leadership. Eagle has the support of just 22 MPs, well short of the 35 she needs. But the support of Beckett, a well-respected veteran - she is the only MP to have served in the Labour governments of Harold Wilson, Jim Callaghan and of Tony Blair - may provide Eagle with a much-needed boost.

With both Tom Watson and Caroline Flint already on the ballot - Watson has 59 while Flint has 38 names - the candidate nearest to the ballot is Creasy, with 25 names. The Creasy campaign say privately that they are close to securing 35 names. Rushanara Ali, who has 24 signatures, would be the only ethnic minority candidate in either the leadership or deputy leadership race, and is likely to secure enough support to qualify on that basis. Both Eagle and Ben Bradshaw, who has just 21 nominations, are unlikely to make the ballot.

The full letter is below.

 

Dear colleague,
I've seen that you've not yet nominated in the Deputy Leadership
contest, and I just wanted to ask you if you'll help Angela Eagle get over
the line.
I've worked with Angela for a number of years, both on the Labour Party
NEC and in the PLP. What I've seen has really impressed me.
She's a straight talker, and I know as Deputy she'll act without fear
or favour.
She's a good advocate for our policies within the Labour movement and
in the media.
She's a champion for women's equality and for LGBT rights - and
someone needs to pick up Harriet's mantle.
And she is the experienced choice in this election, which really matters
at such a time of uncertainty.
It is important that members have a chance to vote for Angela in
this election, and it is important that we go in to this election with
the widest possible choice.
She needs just a few more nominations to make it on to the ballot -
please consider giving her your support.

Best wishes,

Margaret Beckett

Stephen Bush is political editor of the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics.