Owen Smith launches his campaign to replace Jeremy Corbyn

"Britain is a divided country" - Smith

Owen Smith launches his campaign to replace Jeremy Corbyn

A new rival emerges for Jeremy Corbyn Photo: PA Images

Labour leadership contender Owen Smith says Britain is a divided country and has vowed to tackle poverty and inequality.

The former shadow work and pensions secretary said living standards have fallen under the conservatives and many people feel their hopes will not be realised.

Speaking at the launch of his campaign to replace Jeremy Corbyn, he said he wanted to rewrite Clause IV of Labour's constitution.

He repeatedly praised Mr Corbyn's influence on the party but spoke of the need to create a "radical but credible" movement.

He told supporters in his Pontypridd constituency: "We know, Jeremy knows, he said it, it's a disgrace.
"We have a wider gap between the haves and have nots in this country than any of us have known in our lifetimes and it is for the Labour Party, our party, to fight to reduce that gap.

"So I say it is time for us in words to commit ourselves by rewriting Clause IV of the Labour Party's constitution, the beating heart of our party.

"I want to rewrite Clause IV to put tackling inequality right at the heart of everything that we do."
Mr Smith pledged to make Labour the party of "investment, not cuts" and spend £200bn on Britain's "failing" infrastructure.

Earlier he suggested he would bow out of the leadership race if his rival Angela Eagle wins the backing of more MPs.

Mr Smith said whoever has the most support in the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) should become the unity candidate to take on Mr Corbyn.

Ms Eagle, the MP for Wallasey, refused to be drawn on the issue when interviewed by Sky's Dermot Murnaghan.
She told, him: "I don't want to be involved in a back room deal before nominations are open."

Senior Labour MPs have called for a single unity candidate, warning that a protracted and divisive leadership battle would give new Prime Minister Theresa May a free hand.

Mr Corbyn, meanwhile, has urged supporters not to abuse his challengers during the leadership contest.

He has posted a code of conduct on his campaign website saying he wants the election to be an example of "vibrant political discussion".

He wrote: "As a candidate I will treat all with respect, behave with civility and expect all who support me to do the same."

His call for fairness comes after the National Executive Committee suspended all local party meetings amid reports of intimidation, bullying and threatening behaviour.

A brick was thrown through Ms. Eagle's constituency office window a few days ago.