Eagle Quits U.K. Labour Leadership Race; Smith to Face Corbyn

Owen Smith will challenge Jeremy Corbyn for the leadership of the Labour Party, following Angela Eagle's decision to drop out of the race.

"We've finished the first day of nominations, Owen Smith has a lead, and I think that it's in the best interests of the Labour Party that we now come together so that we can have one candidate".

There's no guarantee that Smith, who was the party's spokesman on work and pensions until he quit, can oust Corbyn, who remains popular with many rank-and-file party members for policies that include backing the renationalization of the rail network and opposition to nuclear weapons. So I'm announcing tonight that I'm withdrawing from this race and supporting Owen.

The BBC reported that Smith has amassed 90 nominations from Labour MPs so far, with Eagle gaining 25 fewer.

The UK Parliament debated the replacement of Britain's fleet of submarines carrying Trident nuclear warheads Monday night (July 18) with both Prime Minister's Conservatives firmly in favor of continuing the program and Corbyn's Labour Party largely joining them to win a majority of 355.

If Mr Corbyn was opposed by just Ms Eagle, 58% would vote for him and just 34% for her.

Mr Smith said he had garnered "significantly more" support than Ms Eagle but praised her courage in coming forward to challenge Mr Corbyn and said he wanted her to be his "right-hand woman" during the leadership campaign and afterwards.

Mr Corbyn's popularity among the grassroots has bounced back after he survived a vicious coup in which more than 50 frontbenchers resigned and 172 voted for a motion of no confidence.

YouGov polling published today suggested that Corbyn would easily beat either Smith or Eagle.

Angela Eagle, whose voting record includes backing the war in Iraq, served as shadow business secretary under Corbyn before making a tearful resignation.

Mr Smith told Sky News: "I just want to say to Angela that she is one of the great stars of the Labour movement".

He also sought to reach out to Mr Corbyn's supporters in the party, insisting that he could also be their champion.

Mr Benn said Mr Corbyn's leadership "can't continue" but denied the party would split. Among his nominators is former party leader Ed Miliband.

Corbyn, who surprised many political pundits by being elected Labour party leader last September, has been caught in a bitter power struggle between the party's left wing and more moderate factions.

And Amy from Hackney said, "The Parliamentary Labour Party disgusts me".

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