Wales politics

Angela Eagle should step aside, says Wayne David

Angela Eagle and Wayne David Image copyright PA/BBC

Angela Eagle should step aside in the Labour leadership race "as soon as possible", Caerphilly Labour MP Wayne David has said.

Mr David is one of seven Welsh Labour MPs who attended the launch of Owen Smith's campaign to challenge Jeremy Corbyn on Sunday.

The former UK government minister said Mr Smith had more support in the parliamentary party than Ms Eagle.

He said it would be "better" if only one candidate ran against Mr Corbyn.

Mr Smith said he believed only one challenger to Mr Corbyn should appear on the final leadership ballot, decided by "whoever is the person who commands the largest degree of support in the PLP".

But Ms Eagle told the Andrew Marr show she thought she was most likely to beat Mr Corbyn, adding: "We're not going to do a deal here on your sofa."

She has said she can provide the leadership "in dark times for Labour" that Mr Corbyn cannot.

As well as Mr David, Labour MPs Nick Smith, Gerald Jones, Carolyn Harris, Nick Thomas-Symonds, Christina Rees and Chris Elmore were at the Pontypridd MP's event at Coleg y Cymoedd in Nantgarw.

Cardiff Central MP Jo Stevens, who had been loyal to Mr Corbyn's leadership, has also backed Mr Smith.

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Media captionLabour leadership challenger Owen Smith outlines his ideas

Brendan Toomey, Merthyr Tydfil council leader, has also offered his support, as has Lee Waters, AM for Llanelli, and former Rhondda AM Leighton Andrews.

"It would be better if there was only one candidate against Jeremy," Mr David told BBC Wales.

"I believe that Owen has more support amongst the Parliamentary Labour Party and it is growing by the hour.

"But I very much hope that Angela will step aside... as soon as possible."

Mr David said he thought Mr Smith's message "offered a unifying way forward for the Labour party".

"Everything he said people could relate to and understand. It is tapping into people's own experiences," he added.

At the launch, Mr Smith vowed to rewrite part of Labour's constitution to put tackling inequality at its heart.

He said Labour must strive to reduce the gap between "haves and have-nots", with all policies tested against that benchmark.

Mr Jones, MP for Merthyr Tydfil, said: "Owen's got the passion, the drive, the determination, the appeal to be the leader of our party and the leader for our country as well - somebody who can bring unity back into the party."

Nick Smith said winning his own seat of Blaenau Gwent was important "but we've also go to win Cardiff North, the Vale of Glamorgan - we've got to win all those seats going up the M4 from Swindon to Reading and all the rest of it.

"We've got to have a majority to win the UK government. I think Owen Smith can do that."

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