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Tuesday 12th
posted by Luke James in Britain

Wealthy Blairites only likely financial backers

ANGELA EAGLE may have to rely on wealthy Blairites to fund her coup after trade unions rallied behind Jeremy Corbyn.

Ms Eagle finally pulled the trigger on the faltering putsch against Mr Corbyn yesterday, filing the paperwork needed for a leadership challenge before holding court with reporters in Westminster.

But she could face funding problems because without the support of unions who backed her campaign for the party’s deputy leadership last year, in which she finished fourth of five with 16 per cent of first-preference votes.

Many saw the Wallasey MP as the left-wing candidate in the contest and she was supported by four affiliated unions — Unison, CWU, TSSA and Ucatt, sharing Unite’s endorsement with eventual winner Tom Watson.

Between them, the unions gave her £71,791 to fight the campaign, which eclipsed the £16,000 she received from three wealthy individuals.

The biggest donation of £50,900 came from Unite, while the GMB gave £5,891, the TSSA gave £10,000 and the CWU £5,000.

After Ms Eagle announced her swoop on the leadership this weekend, Unite general secretary Len McCluskey warned she — or any other challenger — is unlikely to receive support from major trade unions.

The leaders of the CWU, Ucatt and Unison all quickly vowed to back Mr Corbyn in any leadership contest.

And TSSA became the latest of Ms Eagle’s former backers to distance themselves from her campaign yesterday, branding it a “deliberate act of political sabotage.”

“We supported Angela Eagle’s campaign to become deputy leader just 10 months ago, so it is with regret and great disappointment that we now overwhelmingly condemn her decision to launch a leadership challenge against Jeremy,” the union said in a statement after its executive met at the weekend.

General secretary Manuel Cortes added that he was “concerned” Ms Eagle is being used by “masters of the dark arts” intent on splitting the Labour Party — a veiled reference to infamous arch-Blairite Peter Mandelson.

He said: “Lets face it, if she doesn’t [pull out of the race] it will be Angela Eagle’s name that may yet go down in history as the woman who split the Labour Party.”

Without donations from working people, Ms Eagle may be forced to turn to millionaires who have donated thousands to potential leadership challengers since Mr Corbyn was elected.

Hedge fund manager Martin Taylor, recruitment magnate Peter Hearn, and RAC boss Sir Trevor Chinn, knighted under the Tories, have given a combined £46,800 to backbencher Dan Jarvis this year alone.

Ms Eagle will have to declare donations to the Electoral Commission and Parliament.