Jeremy Corbyn will be included on the ballot in Labour's leadership contest without requiring support from other MPs, Labour's National Executive Committee (NEC) has decided.
The dispute over whether MPs' support would be required for Corbyn to run has intensified this week as Angela Eagle launched her bid for the leadership of the party.
A spokesperson for the Labour Party said: "The NEC has agreed that as the incumbent Leader Jeremy Corbyn will go forward onto the ballot without requiring nominations from the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) and the European Parliamentary Labour Party (EPLP).
"All other leadership candidates will require nominations from 20 per cent of the PLP and EPLP."
After the announcement, Jeremy Corbyn told the press: "I am reaching out to everyone in our party so that all the talents can be used and I say to anyone who has any disagreements to come and speak about it."
Responding to a question about how he would convince MPs he is leadership material, Corbyn said: "I am sure that Labour MPs will understand that the party has to come together. I have been elected ten months ago with a very large mandate."
Speaking to Sky News on whether the Labour Party would split, Labour MP Caroline Flint said: “We’ll have to cross that bridge if we come to it.”
Leadership contender Angela Eagle welcomed the news, tweeting:
I'm glad Labour's NEC has come to a decision. I welcome the contest ahead. And I am determined to win it https://t.co/gdNLprxi06
— Angela Eagle DBE (@angelaeagle) July 12, 2016
Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron was quick to capitalise on the political opportunity, telling people to "come and join the opposition":
— Tim Farron (@timfarron) July 12, 2016