Picture: Matthew Horwood/Getty Images
Picture: Matthew Horwood/Getty Images

Contrary to popular reports, Owen Smith did not actually exist as a human prior to July 2016.

We jest, but the MP for Pontypridd has launched his leadership campaign against Jeremy Corbyn all very suddenly.

He resigned as shadow secretary of state for work and pensions after the EU referendum result on 27 June, and on 13 July announced his intention to stand in the leadership ballot, becoming Corbyn's sole challenger after Angela Eagle pulled out.

In his leadership speech today, he told the press he wanted to “smash” Theresa May “back on her heels" at PMQs after he claimed the Conservative party were co-opting Labour rhetoric and values.

I’ll be honest with you, it pained me that we didn’t have the strength and the power and the vitality to smash her back on her heels and argue that these are our values, these are our people, this is our language that they are seeking to steal.

He then said he stood by the statement when questioned about its wording, saying:

It’s rhetoric of course. I don’t literally want to smash Theresa May back, just to be clear. I’m not advocating violence in any way, shape or form.

But I am rhetorically saying ‘come on, let’s smash the Tories back, let’s knock them on their heels – their ideas, their values, let’s smash them, let’s get Labour in, that’s what we need to do.

The gaffe, combined with the location of the speech...

...meant things were all going a bit Wernham Hogg for Smith.

Smith's campaign also say he announced 20 policy proposals, and, yes, the sound you and the Corbyn campaign hear is the clang of a gauntlet:

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