Former shadow business secretary Angela Eagle will launch a bid to oust Jeremy Corbyn on Monday after talks involving the trade unions failed to break the deadlock over the Labour leadership.
A crisis meeting had been expected to take place in Brighton on Sunday before the unions’ conference in a final effort to break the deadlock but deputy Leader Tom Watson announced he was pulling out.
Labour sources have said that some MPs believed they needed to choose a woman to take on Mr Corbyn as the Conservatives now have two women, Andrea Leadsom and Theresa May, fighting for the Tory leadership.
While Mrs Leadsom has said this week that she “doesn’t like” the legislation that brought about equal marriage and would have preferred it if gay couples only had civil partnerships, Ms Eagle is openly gay and powerful figure in equality and diversity.
One of Ms Eagle’s allies confirmed that she had the support from 50 colleagues that she needed to mount a formal leadership challenge but was still hoping that Mr Corbyn would “come to his senses” and stand aside.
Speaking exclusively to OutNews Global today Angela Eagle said: “I want to thank our Deputy Leader Tom Watson, the Chair of the Parliamentary Labour Party John Cryer and Chief Whip Rosie Winterton and the union movement for trying to find a solution to the impasse Labour faces with a Leader who has failed to fulfil his first and foremost duty, that is to lead an organised and effective Parliamentary Labour Party that can both hold the government to account and demonstrate we are ready to form a government in the event of a general election.
“On Monday morning I will announce my candidature for Leader of the Labour Party. I will explain my vision for the country and the difference a strong Labour Party can make.”
She added: “We now face the real possibility of losing all the gains on LGBT rights last the Labour Government made at the hands of a much more extreme Tory Party. It just goes to show why we need a well-led and effective Labour opposition today and why Labour needs to be united to win government next time.
“So if you care about the difference Labour has made to LGBT rights join up and help us win the fight to protect our equality.”
Once gay candidates were demonised – or forced to hide in the closet – but we now have the real prospect of an openly gay leader of the Labour Party in Westminster.
By appointing Angela Eagle as its leader, the Labour Party can make real progress. A progress that we must never take for granted.”