Owen Smith: I want to be Labour leader

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Owen Smith

Owen Smith today criticised the “right” of the Labour Party as he confirmed he would run as Labour leader.

He vowed to stave off a split in the party and said he would be a “radical and credible” leader who could take Labour back into government.

The former shadow Cabinet minister – who opposed the Iraq War and did not become an MP until 2010 – will join Angela Eagle in taking on Jeremy Corbyn, who last night won the battle to stand again without a fresh round of nominations.

Today Smith offered praise for Corbyn but said the veteran left-winger was “not a leader”. He also denied any involvement in the attempted coup which, he said, had come from a small group “on the right”.

Corbyn launched his campaign, after days of speculation, with a pledge to stave off a schism, which has been increasingly discussed by worried members and MPs over the last few weeks.

“I will never split the Labour Party. I will be Labour until the day I die,” Smith told the BBC’s Today Programme.

“I will stand in this election and I will do the decent thing and fight Jeremy Corbyn on the issues, just as he will do with me, and at the end of that I will stand behind whoever the leader is. But I hope and I expect it will be me.”

More follows shortly.

 

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