After weeks of uncertainty, the Labour coup is officially on. While Jeremy Corbyn made clear on Marr that he has no intention of stepping down, Angela Eagle has done the rounds on Peston and Sunday Politics declaring that she will run for leader if Corbyn refuses to go.
So with a fresh leadership election on the horizon, it’s now on Eagle to make the case for her candidacy. In an interview with Andrew Neil on Sunday Politics, Eagle argued that Corbyn’s position was untenable now he had lost the confidence of the majority of the PLP — stating that he couldn’t ‘lead behind a closed door’. She also argued that Labour’s electoral performance under Corbyn was not up to par, and that they should strive for better results.
However, although Eagle says she is the candidate who can ‘heal Labour’, she floundered when it came to making the positive case for her leadership bid. Eagle struggled to explain why it should be her who replaces Corbyn. When asked what policies set her apart from the Labour leader, she dodged the question:
AE: I am on the Left. Any party which I lead will be an anti-austerity party.
AN: I understand, that’s Corbyn’s position too. What I’m asking is: what are the key policy differences?
AE: I think that I want to lead a strong united opposition. Jeremy was asked three times in that interview if he could win a General Election, he didn’t say yes.
While Eagle complained that Corbyn avoided the electability question three times on Marr, she herself avoided Andrew Neil’s policy questions three times in the interview.
If Eagle wants to win over the membership, she will need to go deeper than pointing out that she is not Jeremy Corbyn. While some Labour members may simply want him out, the majority will need to be won over by her vision for the party — and that includes new policies.