13/07/2016 08:22 BST | Updated 13/07/2016 09:00 BST

Owen Smith Launches Labour Leadership Bid, Claims Jeremy Corbyn Suffered 'Dramatic Collapse Of Faith'

'He is not a leader who can lead us into an election and win for Labour.'

Gareth Fuller/PA Archive
Owen Smith claimed there had been a 'dramatic collapse of faith and confidence' in Jeremy Corbyn

Owen Smith has announced he is running to become leader of the Labour party, claiming Jeremy Corbyn would never win a general election.

The Pontypridd MP, who resigned from the shadow front bench as part of a calculated move to unseat Corbyn last month, will join Angela Eagle in the leadership election. 

Smith said a “dramatic collapse of faith and confidence” in Corbyn proved he was “not a leader who can lead us into an election and win for Labour”.

Jonathan Brady/PA Wire
After legal advice heard by Labour's NEC yesterday, committee members ruled Corbyn should not have to seek MPs' nominations

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Smith confronted John McDonnell, accusing the shadow chancellor of being “part of the problem we have in Labour”.

He was questioned on McDonnell calling MPs opposed to his close ally “f***ing useless” at a rally last night, saying: “That’s not the sort of language he should be doing.”

The intervention comes after a high-stakes meeting of Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) saw Corbyn allowed automatically on to the ballot paper.

Smith is discussing his ambitions with constituents on Wednesday before submitting papers that will commence a formal leadership challenge.

Matt Crossick/Matt Crossick
Eagle announced she was standing against Corbyn on Sunday

He and Eagle will each have to gather signatures from 51 MPs and MEPs backing them, but following yesterday’s dramatic NEC ruling Corbyn will be automatically included in the race.

Lucy Powell, Labour’s former shadow education secretary, claimed on Tuesday that Smith would stand a better chance of beating Corbyn than Eagle. 

He has met with Corbyn multiple times in recent weeks to ask him to resign and avoid a leadership contest without success.