A formal leadership challenge against Corbyn by Angela Eagle in July triggered a Labour leadership election, with all Labour Party members who joined before Tuesday 12th January, 2016 eligible to vote. Eagle soon dropped out of the race, but fellow Labour MP Owen Smith remained defiant in his quest to overthrow Corbyn. The big question now is whether Corbyn will retain his position or lose his leadership to challenger Smith.
- Jeremy Corbyn is to politicians what Marmite is to spreadable foodstuffs, and seems to be either loved or loathed in equal measure. He was elected as leader on 12th September, 2015, with 59.5% of first-preference votes, but his landslide victory didn’t go down at all well with many Labour MPs, several of whom have been openly critical of him. Corbyn is just about as left-wing as Labour politicians get, and MPs who had embraced the New Labour identity established by Tony Blair, or the slightly less New Labour identity fashioned by Ed Milliband, can find little common ground with the 67-year-old activist.
- Owen Smith, 46, is the Member of Parliament for Pontypridd in Wales. He was the Shadow Secretary of State for Wales from May 2012 until September 2013, when he became Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. He resigned from that position last month, on 27th June, citing concerns about Corbyn’s leadership.
Jeremy Corbyn may be a rather controversial politician, but he has enjoyed popularity with the voting members of the Labour Party, and if nothing has changed over the last 12 months or so, he is in a good position to emerge victorious once again.
Of course, a lot has changed since Corbyn became leader of the Labour Party, and the shock outcome of the EU Referendum – a result that saw quite a few Labour politicians resign – means that he probably won’t enjoy a landslide success this time around. Corbyn’s divisive attitude has also received a lot of attention, and plenty of MPs fear that he would rather see the party split than concede any ground to his more moderate colleagues. Polls of several trade unions also suggest that Corbyn is proving far less popular now than at the same point last year.
Owen Smith is viewed as being a well-balanced MP who wants to unite the party, and should therefore appeal to a fairly wide spectrum of voters. On the other hand, heated debates between the two candidates have cast doubt over whether Smith could really hold his own if given the task of taking on the Conservatives in a general election.
- Sports.net’s Top Tip: Jeremy Corbyn to win the Labour leadership race - 1/50
*Please note, odds may fluctuate.