The Jewish Labour Movement is to ballot its members before deciding whether to back Angela Eagle’s leadership challenge against Jeremy Corbyn.

The former shadow business secretary is hoping to unseat the left-winger, amid warnings the bitter row could lead to a legal wrangle or lasting split.

Labour’s embattled leader, who lost a vote of no-confidence in June following mass resignations from his shadow cabinet, has vowed to fight any challenge.

However, controversy has erupted over whether her will automatically make the ballot paper for the leadership battle, or if he will need to receive the requisite 51 nominations from MPs and MEPs. This is set to be ruled on by the party’s governing body, the National Executive Committee.

A spokesperson for the Jewish Labour Movement told Jewish News: “We intend to use our right to nominate a candidate. We encourage those who support our values and platform to join JLM and play a role in electing the next leader of the Labour Party. We will be taking steps to organise a membership-wide ballot to determine which candidate will receive our nomination.”

At the launch of her leadership campaign, Angela Eagle criticised Jeremy Corbyn. She said: “He has been hiding behind a door not talking to his MPs – that’s not leadership. He’s opened the party to new ideas, but we need other people to take them forward. This isn’t about splitting the Labour Party, it is about creating a strong, united party.”

She added: “I am a person who brings people together, I don’t drive them apart. I will unite, I will not divide.

Angela Eagle met with Jewish community leaders in April to pledge her commitment to fighting anti-Semitism on campus.

The then shadow minister spoke with representatives of the Board of Deputies, the Community Security Trust, Union of Jewish Students and University Jewish Chaplaincy. During the meeting, Eagle said: “I made absolutely clear that The Labour Party condemns anti-Semitism in any form and reaffirmed our commitment to take whatever action is necessary to deal with such intolerable behaviour, it has no place in our party or in our country.”