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Labour’s most prominent LGBT MP is about as likely to become its next leader as ex-PM Tony Blair

Reiss Smith December 16, 2019
Angela Eagle

Angela Eagle challenged Jeremy Corbyn for the Labour leadership in 2016. (Getty)

With Labour on the cusp of a leadership election following Jeremy Corbyn’s general election defeat, the runners and riders are beginning to emerge – but lesbian MP Angela Eagle’s chances look slim.

Corbyn has confirmed that he will stand down after the party lost 59 seats on his watch, handing Boris Johnson’s Conservatives a decisive victory.

Labour’s general secretary Jennie Formby has reportedly called for a leadership contest to start on January 7, with a view to have a new leader in place by the end of March. Corbyn has said he will stay on in the interim to lead a period of reflection.

Whether the party will continue in the socialist vein Corbyn has steered it into, or lurch towards a more centrist agenda, is in the hands of Labour’s members and supporters.

But one thing that already seems apparent is that the next leader will not come from the LGBT+ community.

Angela Eagle given long odds of succeeding Jeremy Corbyn.

Angela Eagle, Labour’s most prominent LGBT+ MP, has been given 200/1 odds of becoming the party’s next leader by bookmakers Ladbrokes – the same as former prime minister Tony Blair.

Eagle challenged Corbyn for the leadership in 2016, after Labour MPs triggered a vote of no confidence in him following the result of the Brexit referendum. She dropped out to throw her weight behind Owen Smith, who ultimately lost to Corbyn.

Of Labour’s 15 LGBT+ MPs, a further six appear on Ladbroke’s rankings – Dan Carden, Nia Griffith, Wes Streeting, Chris Bryant, Lloyd Russell-Mole and Cat Smith. All have been given long odds of 100/1, the same as ex-leader Ed Miliband and his brother David Miliband.

Angela Eagle has been a MP for Labour in the Wallasey constituency since 1992 and served in the cabinet under prime minister Gordon Brown, as well as roles in the shadow cabinets of both Ed Miliband and Jeremy Corbyn.

She came out in 1997, making her only the second lesbian MP after Maureen Colquhoun, who came out in the 1970s.

Rebecca Long-Bailey favourite to become next Labour leader.

Rebecca Long-Bailey is emerging as the favourite to take on Corbyn’s mantle, with Lisa Nandy also a frontrunner.

The Salford MP is yet to declare, but has already won the backing of shadow chancellor John McDonne and shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon to continue the Corbyn project.

Lisa Nandy became the first MP to break cover on her intentions to run, admitting on Sunday’s Andrew Marr Show that she is “seriously thinking about it.”

It appears likely that the next Labour leader will be a woman. Aside from Long-Bailey and Nandy, Angela Rayner, Yvette Cooper and Jess Phillips are also expected to table bids for control of the party, along with shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer.

More: Angela Eagle, Jeremy Corbyn, Labour, labour leadership

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