openDemocracyUK

Who is Angela Eagle?

Who is the MP said to be challenging Jeremy Corbyn for Labour leader?

Ian Sinclair
29 June 2016
ANGELA-EAGLE-628x314.jpg

Angela Eagle, BBC, fair use.

Interviewed a couple of days ago by Sky News about Jeremy Corbyn’s position as Labour leader, the increasingly impressive journalist Paul Mason explained that corporate-friendly Labour MPs will trigger a leadership election and choose “the leftist person they can” to stand against Corbyn.

It turns out this candidate will likely be former Shadow Business Secretary Angela Eagle, who ITV News reported will challenge Corbyn for the leadership. It is likely that Eagle will be the sole candidate to stand, as the anti-Corbyn section of the Parliamentary Labour Party understand they cannot dilute the non-Corbyn vote like they did in the 2015 Labour leadership campaign.

In the upcoming leadership contest, Eagle and her supporters will no doubt claim she represents Labour members, and poor and vulnerable people. However, as Noam Chomsky wisely noted “It is wise to attend to deeds, not rhetoric” because “deeds commonly tell a different story”.

As Eagle was elected to parliament in 1992, she has an extensive political record that people might want to consider before casting their vote in the Labour leadership election:

  • - According to the They Work For You website she has “generally voted for a stricter asylum system”.
  • - According to the They Work For You website in January and March 2004 she “voted in favour of university tuition fees increasing from £1125 per year to up to £3000 per year”.
  • - She supported the introduction of ID cards.
  • - In 2006 she supported the Blair government’s plan to detain terrorism suspects for up to 90 days without charge.
  • - In March 2013 she abstained on the vote about the coalition government’s workfare programme, the scheme in which people on Jobseekers Allowance are forced to carry out unpaid work in order to keep receiving their benefits.
  • - In July 2015 she abstained on the vote for the Welfare Bill, which proposed to cut tax credits, reduce the benefit cap to £20,000 (£23,000 in London) and called for £12bn more cuts. According to the government’s own figures, over 300,000 poor children will be pushed further into poverty, with 40,000 more children sinking below the poverty line, as a result of the benefit cap. Child Poverty - Action Group noted “the majority of households affected by the benefit cap are lone-parent households and the main victims are children”.
  • - She supports the expansion of Heathrow Airport.
  • - In March 2003 she voted for the invasion of Iraq, which led to the deaths of approximately 500,000 people, according to the latest survey.
  • - According to the They Work For You website she has “consistently voted against an investigation into the Iraq war”.
  • - She supports the retention of Trident nuclear weapons.
  • - In September 2014 she voted in favour of air strikes on Islamic State in Iraq.
  • - In December 2015 she voted in favour of air strikes on Islamic State in Syria.

 

Can there be a green populist project on the Left?

Many on the Left want to return to a politics of class, not populism. They point to Left populist parties not reaching their goals. But Chantal Mouffe argues that as the COVID-19 pandemic has put protection from harm at the top of the agenda, a Left populist strategy is now more relevant than ever.

Is this a chance to realign around a green democratic transformation?

Join us for a free live discussion on Thursday 22 October, 5pm UK time/12pm EDT.

Hear from:

Paolo Gerbaudo Sociologist and political theorist, director of the Centre for Digital Culture at King’s College London and author of ‘The Mask and the Flag: Populism and Global Protest’ and ‘The Digital Party: Political Organisation and Online Democracy’, and of the forthcoming ‘The Great Recoil: Politics After Populism and Pandemic’.

Chantal Mouffe Emeritus Professor of Political Theory at the University of Westminster in London. Her most recent books are ‘Agonistics. Thinking the World Politically’, ‘Podemos. In the Name of the People’ and ‘For a Left Populism’.

Spyros A. Sofos Researcher and research coordinator at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Lund University and author of ‘Nation and Identity in Contemporary Europe’, ‘Tormented by History’ and ‘Islam in Europe: Public Spaces and Civic Networks'.

Chair: Walid el Houri Researcher, journalist and filmmaker based between Berlin and Beirut. He is partnerships editor at openDemocracy and lead editor of its North Africa, West Asia project.

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