Tom Goodenough Tom Goodenough

Owen Smith launches ‘radical and credible’ Labour leadership bid. But is anyone listening?

Owen Smith has officially thrown his hat into the ring for the Labour leadership contest. But the question on many people’s lips is: who is he? A recent poll of Welsh Labour voters showed that 69 per cent had no idea who Smith was. So whilst Angela Eagle’s leadership bid launch might have been overshadowed by events elsewhere in Westminster, she is at least a more familiar face to those in the party who will be picking the new leader. During his Today interview this morning, he was asked whether he was familiar enough to stand a chance. Smith had this to say:

‘Well Angela Eagle has been in Parliament for a quarter of a century, I’ve been in Parliament for six years. So I’m not surprised by that (that people don’t know me). But they’re going to get a chance to know me. They’re going to get a chance to hear about how I will be a radical and credible leader of the Labour party and how I can heal our party.’

So what does he stand for? In a quick potted summary, he said Tony Blair was wrong about Iraq but that he shouldn’t be held in contempt over the war. And on Trident, he said despite having once been a member of CND, he was in favour of it. Smith will place himself in this race somewhere to the left of Angela Eagle, but perhaps not as far to the left as Corbyn. He was also powerful during his leadership pitch just now in making it clear he wasn’t part of the ‘coup’ against the Labour leader. He also was at pains to underline how he had repeatedly met with Corbyn to try and find a solution to the impasse.

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