Angela Eagle Interview: On Homophobia, Brick-Throwing, Tory Cuts And Labour’s Future

In an interview with HuffPost UK this year, Corbyn said it was not “inevitable” that he would resign as Labour leader if he lost the next election. Party members would control what happens, he stressed. A BMG/HuffPost UK poll found a majority of Labour supporters agreed he should be given a second chance, just as Neil Kinnock was allowed to stay on after his 1987 defeat.

What does Eagle think? “It depends what sort of election loss it was and how the whole team perform,” she says. “In ’87, Neil Kinnock made progress, had a very good and professional election campaign which everybody thought was going to win and it didn’t win.”

She remembers knocking on doors in London in two constituencies, Battersea and Mitcham and Morden. In both, Labour’s defence policy “caused us huge problems on the doorstep”, she said. “After that, Neil realised he had to do something more drastic in terms of our policy offer.”

So Jeremy Corbyn could survive as leader even after a defeat? “It depends on what sort of election you’d had, what sort of result. There would have to be progress.” She smiles: “It’s not usual to stay on.”

While Eagle takes time out of the front line to focus on policy on things like the ‘gig economy’, robotics and manufacturing, the Shadow Cabinet continues its work without her. Now 55, and having served in the last Labour governments, does she think she will ever be a minister again?

“You’re not in the Labour party, and I joined in the 1980s, if you’re not an optimist. If the Labour party can get to a stage where from a policy point of view it can represent the needs of those who work and those who require a proper looking-after by society. and can knit those together, then yes.

“We are living through the most volatile political times I can think of and things can change very quickly. If you were thinking in the old ways, I would say it’s very, very tough. But at the same time politics has this way of suddenly changing.

“It’s going to be tough for Labour unless it transforms its approach to the electorate to win in the next few years. So it depends how much longer I’m going to go on.” She laughs. “If 50 is the new 40, I think I’ll be fine…”

Article source: