Labour leadership: #ChickenCoup ditches Eagle for Owen Smith?

Owen Smith MP: Another stalking horse? [Image: Rex Shutterstock.]

Owen Smith MP: Another stalking horse? [Image: Rex Shutterstock.]

Was it something we said?

Hours after we were all told that Angela Eagle would announce her candidacy for the Labour leadership, it seems she is withdrawing in favour of Welsh nonentity Owen Smith.

It seems unlikely that more than two names will appear on the ballot paper – the Labour MPs who oppose Corbyn are well aware that he has a huge following among the membership and won’t want to split the proportion of the vote available to them.

The Twitterati have bestowed the name #ChickenCoup on the plotters, because most of them are terrified their Constituency parties (who nominated them for election and 95 per cent of whom support Jeremy Corbyn) will find out they voted against him in the ‘no confidence’ vote on Monday, and because they are finding it extremely hard to field a candidate brave enough to tackle Mr Corbyn and the overwhelming support he has among the electorate.

Ms Eagle’s candidacy was met with a chorus of disapproval on the social media, where she was pilloried for ignoring the wishes of her Constituency Labour Party, Wallasey, whose secretary had written to instruct her to support Corbyn to the hilt. That kind of betrayal will have consequences and Ms Eagle may find it hard to be nominated as Wallasey’s candidate, let alone get elected without the help of the members she scorned.

Now we are told that Owen Smith has stepped up and gained the necessary 51 signatures to get onto the ballot paper. The former Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary (until he quit with the others earlier this week) has tried to do a good job in that role – but This Writer fears that he may not have put his all into it. Bear in mind that I have a history with this man, over an apparent reluctance to upset the right-wing press.

Mr Smith is one of the apparently endless line of Labour MPs who don’t seem ever to have had a proper job; he was a radio producer for 10 years before becoming a spad for Labour MP Paul Murphy.

He doesn’t seem to have much respect for democracy. When Jeremy Corbyn was exploring the possibility of consulting the wider Labour membership over whether to end support for the Trident nuclear programme, Mr Smith said he would consider quitting the Shadow Cabinet if that was the outcome.

He doesn’t have much experience either, having been an MP for only slightly longer than six years. But on the bright side, this means he didn’t vote in favour of the Iraq War (because he wasn’t an MP at the time). And in his favour, he didn’t vote for the Syrian air strikes, either.

If anybody knows whether Pontypridd CLP supports Corbyn, please contact This Blog, so we can clear up that grey area too.

In summary, Owen Smith doesn’t have the experience or the backbone to be a strong Labour leader, and it seems unlikely he would respect the wishes of the wider Labour membership. Another stalking horse?

But then, as I write this, it is only 1.30am.

Who knows who will actually step up to the starting line at 3pm?


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12 thoughts on “Labour leadership: #ChickenCoup ditches Eagle for Owen Smith?

  1. jeffrey davies

    the eagle soared for a while shot down in flames ops owen is the new owen glydwr i think not just another wannabe who like the eagle have his wings clipped jeff3

  2. Pension Sixty

    The rumour mill is that around 200 rebel Labour MPs are considering starting their own party. These will be instantly replaced as around 200 Labour councillors have written a group letter supporting Jeremy Corbyn continued Labour leadership. You can be a councillor and an MP at the same time. So the Blairites might self purge themselves out of the party, so Labour can become a real democratic socialist party entirely behind Jeremy Corbyn.

    Just in time for the possibility of a snap general election in November, after probably Boris becomes Prime Minister in September (according to right wing press) and Tory October conference.

  3. Jonathan Trapman

    Ah! but he does have the backing of the RKM (Rothschild Khazarian Mafia who are controlling all these Labour traitor puppets as they control the SelfServitives.
    Nothing to question here, just move along and eat more bread and go to be entertained by more of our circuses

  4. mohandeer

    I think they will likely field Dan Jarvis because he is an ex serviceman and may prove popular with some members even if he is a traitor to the Labour Party.

  5. David Payne

    Intellectual light-weight Owen Smith had a ‘real job’ as a Lobbyist for pharmaceutical company Pfizer, whilst living in the leafy suburban Tory heartland of Dorking, Surrey.

  6. Elspeth Parris

    The sooner they get on with it, the better. Once they stop shilly-shallying around and have a leadership election, we can vote for Corbyn again so that maybe this time they’ll believe we mean it!

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      They all seem to be chickening out, according to what I’m seeing on Twitter!

  7. Katie

    Since when is being a radio producer not a proper job? Cultural & Entertainment industries employ a large number of people in the UK and I’m sure they really appreciate being told they’re not in proper jobs!

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      You probably won’t like this answer, but radio producers aren’t likely to see or deal with the kind of issues that are bread and butter for MPs. It’s an insulated, comfortable world, and the everyday problems of struggling people are more likely to be seen as programme fodder or academic exercises than life-or-death issues. So their experience in this work isn’t really useful when it comes to working as an MP.

  8. John L Bell (@johnlbellblog)

    Strange how the CLP’s support for Corbyn and the odd motion of no confidence in the chicken coup PLP members is NOT reported in the media!
    Time for a series of de-selection procedures…… drip fed ….. somewhat like the ‘planned’ spontaneous Shadow Cabinet, … somewhat ‘tearful’ (But VERY well organised!)……. resignations!
    i humbly suggest!

Comments are closed.