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Leadership contest adds to Labour Party turmoil

world Updated: Jul 13, 2016 22:28 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
Hindustan Times
Jeremy Corbyn

Angela Eagle (centre), leadership contender for Britain's opposition Labour Party, attends an event in central London on Wednesday.(REUTERS)

The Labour sideshow of the Brexit vote fallout continued on Wednesday, with at least two party MPs declaring their candidature to challenge leader Jeremy Corbyn, who was elected to the post less than a year ago. 

After Angela Eagle announced her candidature on Monday, Owen Smith joined the fray on Wednesday. Corbyn too will be a candidate in the election expected to be rolled out in the coming months before the opposition party’s annual conference in September.

Labour faces the unlikely situation where most MPs in the 232-strong parliamentary party are opposed to Corbyn’s leadership, though he enjoys much support from members of the party. Corbyn hopes members will again elect him to the post.

The latest challenge to Corbyn was prompted by the Britain’s vote to exit the European Union, amid charges that he did not campaign strongly enough for the UK to remain in the bloc. Party MPs claim he is “unelectable” and cannot lead the party to power in the next election.

Eagle accused Corbyn’s supporters of being responsible for attacks on her constituency office and protests during her visit to Luton this week. One of Smith’s claims is he voted against his party's government led by Tony Blair taking Britain to war in Iraq in 2003.

Corbyn was elected leader in September 2015 after an election prompted by the resignation of Ed Miliband when Labour lost the May 2015 general election.