World Bulletin / News Desk
Angela Eagle launched her bid by saying Corbyn was unable to provide the leadership needed following Britain’s decision to leave the European Union.
But her challenge came on the day the governing Conservative Party abruptly ended its own leadership contest when one of the two remaining candidates pulled out.
Allies of Jeremy Corbyn have called for unity within Labour as speculation has risen of an early parliamentary election in the U.K. after Home Secretary Theresa May became Britain’s prime minister-designate.
Speaking before the Conservative race ended, Eagle told supporters: “A referendum designed to settle an argument inside the Conservative party has resulted in the country being torn apart, our economy damaged, our society hurt.
“At this time, with a failed Prime Minister, and a tiny number of Conservative party members choosing the next one, our country needs a strong Labour Party.”
Eagle cited her working class background and socialist values as strong credentials for the leadership, saying Corbyn had not convinced British voters that Labour was an alternative to the governing Conservatives.
The challenge had been anticipated for weeks and came amid widespread dissatisfaction in Corbyn’s 10-month leadership among Labour lawmakers, who overwhelmingly voted against him a confidence motion on June 28.
Corbyn previously said he would fight any leadership contest.
Labour Party officials confirmed Eagle had received enough nominations from fellow lawmakers to trigger a challenge, but it was not clear whether Corbyn’s status as party leader meant he automatically qualified for the contest.
Jon Trickett, Labour’s election coordinator and a close Corbyn ally, said it was time for the party to unite.
He said in a statement on Monday afternoon: “It now looks likely that we are about to have the coronation of a new Conservative Prime Minister.
“It is crucial, given the instability caused by the Brexit vote, that the country has a democratically elected Prime Minister. I am now putting the whole of the party on a General Election footing.
“It is time for the Labour Party to unite and ensure the millions of people in the country left behind by the Tories’ failed economic policies, have the opportunity to elect a Labour government.”