Another UK Labour contender

Another Labour MP in the UK has put themselves forward for the leadership.

Guardian: Owen Smith to challenge Corbyn for Labour leadership

Owen Smith, the former shadow work and pensions secretary, is planning to challenge Jeremy Corbyn for the Labour leadership on Wednesday.

The Labour MP has been trying to decide for days whether to join Angela Eagle, the former shadow business secretary, in the contest.

He is expected to throw his hat into the ring after Labour’s ruling body, the National Executive Committee (NEC), said Corbyn would automatically be on the ballot without needing to collect nominations from MPs.

In a move apparently prompted by intimidation of MPs and Labour supporters, the NEC also decided to suspend local Labour party meetings for the duration of the contest. The move may be intended to calm tensions at a time when some MPs on both sides have claimed to suffer abuse and death threats.

Eagle had a brick thrown through her office window in Wallasey and had been facing a motion of no confidence by her local party because of her opposition to Corbyn.

Smith’s decision to stand could risk splitting the vote against Corbyn unless either he or Eagle pulls out at some stage, although there is an alternative voting system that counts second preferences.

Corbyn is strong favourite to hold on to his leadership after the NEC’s ruling that he did not have to collect support from his MPs, who have passed a no confidence vote in him.

So the will of the party is expected to overrule the will of the Labour MPs, who overwhelmingly voted no confidence in Corbyn.

But there are multiple issues embroiling the party in toil and trouble.

In a crunch meeting at Labour’s Westminster headquarters on Tuesday, NEC members, including Corbyn himself, voted 18 to 14 in a secret ballot that he was not subject to the rule that forces candidates to show they have the backing of 20% of the party’s MPs and MEPs.

And new member’s have been ruled ineligible to vote.

However, there is already a row brewing over the rules, as it emerged more than 100,000 new Labour members who have joined in the last six months will have to pay £25 to sign up as registered supporters to vote in the contest during a 48-hour window.

A bunch of self interested wallies self destructing.