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Angela Eagle quits shadow cabinet: ‘We need leader who can unite, not divide’

Joe Williams June 27, 2016
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The Shadow Business Secretary & First Secretary of State has announced she will leave Jeremy Corbyn’s cabinet.

Angela Eagle – the highest ranking LGBT Labour politician and key figure in Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour leadership – has announced her decision to step down as Shadow Business Secretary & First Secretary of State.

Just last month, Ms Eagle – who was the first openly LGBT politician to be at the dispatch during PMQs – told PinkNews that she would happily stand as leader of the party.

“I was devastated by the result of the EU referendum,” she wrote in her resignation letter to Mr Corbyn, which she shared on Twitter.

“Too many of our supporters were taken in by right-wing arguments and I believe this happened, in part, because under your leadership the case to remain in the EU was made with half-hearted ambivalence rather than full-throated clarity.

“While I respect the decision of the electorate, it is the communities we were both elected to serve that have been severely let down.

“They will be the first to suffer the economic consequences of this decision,” she added.

She went to criticise Mr Corbyn, saying she feels he “divides” the Labour party, rather than uniting it.

“In such turbulent times, we need a leader who can unite rather than divide the Labour Party. We need a Leader who can hold the Tories to account, provide a genuine alternative, and who can convince the country that we understand their concerns and aspirations.

“We need a Leader who can heal the deep divisions in our country, stand up for our comminuties, and ultimately to keep our United Kingdom together.

“It is with the greatest of sadness that, after nine months of trying to make our leaderships work and despite your considerable personal qualities, I have come to the conclusion you are not the right person to lead the Party we both love.

“You have lost the confidence of colleagues, and you have struggled to win the confidence of our own voters and the wider public.

“And so in the interests of the people who so need a Labour Government, I believe it is time for you to stand aside.”

The MP for Wallasey recently told PinkNews that she would like to run for leadership herself – if the opportunity arose.

“Well, I have to step very carefully here because we have a leader already,” she said.

“But, I enjoyed doing PMQs, let’s put it that way. I don’t think I did too badly.”

Her sister – Shadow Culture secretary Maria Eagle – has also announced her resignation.

Mr Corbyn said that although he regrets the resignations, he will stand in any new leadership election – before announcing his new shadow cabinet.

Less than twenty-fours after the result came in MP Dame Margaret Hodge and Ann Coffey revealed their plans to lead a vote of no confidence against Mr Corbyn.

Amongst those opting to abandon their positions was Chris Bryant, now former shadow leader of the House of Commons, who told Mr Corbyn he risked “breaking the Labour party” unless he resigned.

Related topics: envoy, EU, Jeremy Corbyn, Labour, LGBT, Lord Michael Cashman

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