After dropping out of the race, Angela Eagle has thrown support towards Owen Smith, the only remaining contender in the Labour leadership race.
Before getting into politics, Smith worked as a BBC producer and lobbyist for Pfizer, an American pharmaceutical company. After working his way through media, money and business, Smith began his parliamentary career working as an MP for Pontypridd and acting as the shadow work and pensions secretary.
Now, Smith has his eyes on the Labour throne which would require beating out party favourite Jeremy Corbyn. So how does Smith compare?
In today’s Good Morning Britain interview, Smith declared he would be willing to push the ‘nuclear button’ if necessary, despite meaning the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children.
This comes just days after Theresa May made the same pledge in the House of Commons.
In comparison, Corbyn has long been known for his vocal anti-Trident stance, one that has been accused of fracturing the Labour party. During the Trident Renewal vote, MPs voted 427 to 117 to upgrade the deterrent whilst Corbyn was one of just 47 Labour MPs to vote against it.
Smith was once a member of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), but told Sky News, “I was a teenager when I was a member of the CND and I have long since grown up and I now know that I don’t think we can afford to divest ourselves of nuclear weapons right now.”
However, like Corbyn, Smith portrays himself as solidly left-wing. In an interview last Wednesday, Smith said “I am on the left of the Labour Party, I share many of Jeremy’s values.”
Smith has also said that should he win the leadership race, he would offer Corbyn the role of President of the party. “Jeremy has still got a lot to say for the Labour party, but I don’t think Jeremy is a leader in parliament. But I would absolutely want him to take a role like president or chairman.”
Regarding his programme, Smith said “Labour needs to spell how we turn from being an anti-austerity party to a pro-prosperity party.
“We need a £200bn investment programme, funded through government, in order to rebuild public, social and physical infrastructure: schools, hospitals, roads, railways, Sure Start centres, vocational education [and] housing.”
However Smith has scores of critics armed with a list of his previous remarks. During last year’s Commons vote on the government’s welfare bill, Smith abstained from making a vote, something he now admits was a “mistake.”
Further back in 2005, Smith commented that “we believe that choice is a good thing” in the NHS, referring to a study that included “the use of direct payments”.
This was brought up by the Times, but Smith says “it is a gross exaggeration and extrapolation of one comment in a press release” and maintains he “never advocated privatisation of the NHS.” According to the Guardian, Smith aims to prevent further private sector involvement in the NHS.
During a series of interviews today, Smith painted himself a great unifier in the Labour party. The party has seen fierce division over issues such as Trident, Corbyn and the controversial fracking technique. As such, Smith wants to ‘save the party’ from collapse.
Smith says he is “Labour right to my fingertips” adding “I’m not interested in machine politicking and Westminster parlour games, but rooted politics – that’s about making a real and lasting difference to people’s lives.”