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Angela Eagle pulls out of Labour leadership race after receiving fewer nominations

Joe Williams July 19, 2016

The openly gay MP says she will now lend her “support, enthusiasm and might” to rival Owen Smith.

Angela Eagle has withdrawn from the upcoming Labour leadership battle after winning fewer party nominations than her rival Owen Smith.

Although both secured the 51 nominations needed to stand against Jeremy Corbyn, Ms Eagle said it was in the best interests of the party that she withdrew.

Mr Smith gained 90 nominations from MPs and MEPs – putting him more than 20 ahead of Ms Eagle.

Ms Eagle says she now wants to see her supporters gather behind Mr Smith, as she pledged to support him in his fight against the current leader.

“I am supporting Owen with all of my enthusiasm and might,” Ms Eagle announced to reporters, after saying that although there was a narrow gap between the pair, it was time for the Labour party to unite.

“We have the Labour party at the moment that is not working,” she added.

“We’ve got a leader that does not have the confidence of his members of parliament and isn’t reaching out to the country.”

Although Mr Smith may have won the support of his fellow MPs, he may have some way to go when it comes to the LGBT community, after he claimed to be the only “normal” candidate because he is married with children.

Responding to a question from Sky News, he said: “I am normal. I grew up in a normal household. I’ve got a wife and three children. My wife is a primary school teacher.

“I’ve been in Parliament for six years, before that I had two or three other jobs, in business, in politics and advising the peace process in Northern Ireland.”

Many took offence to the comments – especially after Ms Eagle described herself as a “strong, gay woman” as she announced her plans to run for leadership.

During her short lived bid to become the country’s first openly LGBT leader, the MP for Wallasey has been subject to a barrage of homophobic and violent abuse.

Last week, a man was arrested on suspicion of making death threats to Labour Party leadership contender, shortly after a brick was thrown through her constituency office window.

More: Angela Eagle, Jeremy Corbyn, Labour, LGBT, owen smith

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