Profile: Who is Labour leadership challenger Angela Eagle?


CommonSpace looks at the new Labour leadership challenger’s career in politics and voting record

ANGELA EAGLE has launched her bid to replace Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader.

Eagle represents the majority of MPs in the parliamentary Labour party who are eager to oust Corbyn as leader and draw the Labour party away from the left and towards the centre ground.

In her launch speech she said: “I’m not a Blairite, I’m not a Brownite, I’m not a Corbynista. I am my own woman.”

So who is Eagle, and what are her political positions?

CommonSpace looks at the career and voting history of the new leadership hopeful.


Age: 55

Education: Eagle was educated at a comprehensive school before going on to study politics, philosophy and economics (PPE) at Oxford University.

Career: Eagle was first elected in the Wallasey constituency at the age of 31, making her one of the youngest MPs at the time. She held a number of junior roles in government departments under prime ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

She held the shadow cabinet position of chief secretary to the treasury under Ed Miliband, opposite Liberal Democrat Danny Alexander. She became the shadow leader of the House of Commons in 2011.

She challenged for deputy leader of the Labour party in 2015, coming fourth.

Voting record

Iraq war and inquiry

Eagle voted for the Iraq war in 2003, and has repeatedly voted against inquiries into the Iraq war in 2003, 2006 and 2007.

Her support for the Iraq war and opposition to inquiries is expected to present her with difficulties in becoming party leader, especially after the Chilcot report on the war was highly critical.

She has continued to support military action abroad, supporting the bombing of Syria in 2015.


Like a lot of MPs, Eagle was typically absent from votes on clauses in the Scotland Bill on devolution to Scotland.

She was absent, for example, on a vote that would allow the Scottish Parliament to give Carers’ Allowance to under 16s.

When she did attend, her voting profile was relatively conservative in terms of devolving power, and broadly in line with Labour voting.

She voted to give the Scottish Parliament the right to establish new state benefits, but voted against giving the parliament the right to call referenda on independence.


Eagle has consistently backed the Trident nuclear weapons system based on the Clyde and has voted for its renewal.

Tax and welfare

The voting profiles of opposition MPs on matters like taxation and welfare tend to be similar, as more often than not they are simply voting against government budgets. Eagle has typically voted to increase welfare payments at least in line with inflation.

However, on some key recent matters Eagle has voted with parliamentary party consensus in a way that has alienated party members.

For instance, she abstained on Conservative welfare cuts in 2015, as called for by then acting party leader Harriet Harman.

Civil liberties

Eagle has voted consistently for ID cards and supported Blair’s plans for terror suspects to be detained for 90 days without trial.

Public service reform

Eagle has typically voted against reforms to marketise public services such as foundation hospitals and academies which remove public control and oversight from the health and education systems.

Picture courtesy of Twitter

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