Wales politics

Labour leadership: Owen Smith says all options open

Owen Smith and Jeremy Corbyn

Potential Labour leadership challenger Owen Smith has said "all options remain open" ahead of a meeting with Jeremy Corbyn over divisions within the party.

The Pontypridd MP was among the mass resignations from the shadow cabinet of leading figures, claiming Mr Corbyn could not win a general election.

Former Shadow Business Secretary Angela Eagle has said she will challenge Mr Corbyn for the leadership.

Mr Smith said he would consider his next steps after Monday's meeting.

Mr Corbyn faces a challenge to his leadership after losing a no-confidence vote of Labour MPs, unhappy with his performance during the EU referendum campaign.

He has resisted repeated calls to stand down, claiming he still has the support of ordinary party members who elected him leader last September.

'Whatever it takes'

Mr Smith, the party's former work and pensions spokesman, is understood to have been considering a challenge.

He said on Monday: "I am meeting Jeremy Corbyn today to put to him fresh ideas about how we might avert a damaging contest and still stop the party from splitting.

"I will consider my next steps after that meeting. I'll do whatever it takes to stop our party being destroyed.

"All options remain open."

Mr Smith has claimed Mr Corbyn and his allies were prepared to see the Labour Party split rather than stand down.

Darlington MP Jenny Chapman - who resigned as a shadow education minister in June - said she would prefer Mr Smith than Ms Eagle as Labour leader.

"Speaking to my voters, I think I've got more of a chance of getting them to vote Labour with Owen in the lead, because I think they'll just feel more confidence in him, they'll feel that he understands their lives better," she said.

"What I want is to get a party leader who can win an election. Because, unless we can win an election, we can achieve absolutely nothing."

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