Jeremy Corbyn Wins Labour Leadership Contest, As Shadow Cabinet Members Quit

Jeremy Corbyn Wins Labour Leadership Contest, As Shadow Cabinet Members Quit

Jeremy Corbyn is the new leader of the Labour Party after winning nearly 60 per cent of the vote in one of the most sensational victories in British political history.

The veteran left-wing MP, who started the leadership contest as a 200-1 outsider, was crowned winner of the three-month long contest this morning at a special conference in Westminster.

Mr Corbyn, who only received enough MP nominations to get on to the ballot just minutes before the deadline, swept to victory on a tide of support from Labour members.

He defeated former Cabinet members Andy Burnham and Yvette Cooper, and Shadow Care Minister Liz Kendall.

Mr Corbyn won 251,417 votes - 59.5% of all those cast. Mr Burnham came second on 80,462, Ms Cooper third on 71,928, and Ms Kendall finished fourth with 18,857 votes.

The new Labour leader also came top amongst members, registered supporters and affiliated supporters.

His most immediate task is creating a Shadow Cabinet, something which could prove tricky as he is much more popular with party members than his fellow MPs.

Long-term Corbyn allies, including Diane Abbott, John McDonnell and Jon Trickett, could be in line for high-profile frontbench roles.

Abbott told The Huffington Post UK immediately following the result that her colleagues would have to accept that their new leader has "an overwhelming mandate".

"Shadow cabinet members taking about standing down, I would urge them to reconsider. They won't know Jeremy as well as i do. He's a really nice man. I don't think the campaign was divisive. Jeremy himself waged a very positive campaign," she said.

However Rachel Reeves, Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions; Tristram Hunt, the Shadow Education Secretary; and Shadow Health minister Jamie Reed quit Labour's front bench after the news.

Dan Jarvis, the Barnsley MP mooted as a potential leadership runner after Ed Miliband stood down in May, confirmed on Radio 4 last night he would not serve in a Corbyn Shadow Cabinet.

Shadow culture secretary Chris Bryant told HuffPost he would be willing to serve in the shadow cabinet, providing some policy issues were resolved.

He said: "Will I serve? That is entirely up to Jeremy whether he thinks I am the right person to be in his team. There are issues where I disagree with Jeremy and I would want to have that discussion before, if he rings me. If he asked me and if we can navigate our way round issues like Nato and the EU and so on."

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Labour leadership contest

Following his victory, Corbyn and his supporters gathered in a Westminster pub to celebrate and sing. Labour's new leader told the crowd they had "changed the world" today. "

Labour MP Jack Dromey told HuffPost the party could not return to the “dark days” of the early 1980s when the party split.

“The party has now got to pull together to get back on the front foot," he said. "To be an effective opposition holding the Tories to account, that means the division of the past can not happen in future. A unity of purpose.

"But to achieve a unity of purpose its important that everyone pulls together, [and] no-one seeks to undermine, because we have a massive job to do.

“There have been divisions, and there have been things said that I strongly disagreed on. But I think the mood now is to pull together at the next stages. If there is one thing we cannot do, is to return to the dark ays of the first half of the 1980s, when I remember so vividly when the Labour movement tore itself apart."

Mr Corbyn favours renationalisation of the railways and energy industry, a practically non-interventionist foreign policy and the funding of infrastructure projects through People’s Quantitative Easing, i.e. printing money.

Numerous Labour figures warned against electing the Islington North MP as leader, arguing his views harked back to those put forward by the party in the 1980s when it was kept out of power by Margaret Thatcher.

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair told Labour members who were planning to vote with their heart for Mr Corbyn “get a heart transplant.”

Labour MP Clive Lewis, who nominated Corbyn, for the leadership, said today Blair needed come to terms with the leadership result.

"I hope that Tony Blair understands the democratic mandate and the expression of what’s come out of here. Tony Blair is an intelligent man, and I think he and others of his political persuasion will go away and re-think what it is they stand for because we are not in the 1990s anymore," he said.

"We are in a different phase, a different period of this economic system and they need different answers. I think they’ve got something to contribute to those answers. Hopefully they will go away and have a real hard think about how they can reconnect."

And Wes Streeting, a newly elected Labour MP who backed Kendall in the campaign, said those who did not want Corbyn as leader had to "take the result on the chin and reflect on why we lost the argument".

He added: "I hope Jeremy Corbyn lives up to promises he made to be inclusive. People like me should give him a fair wind to do that."

On Saturday, Labour also elected Tom Watson as deputy leader - meaning both top positions are filled by men. Stella Creasy, who ran to be deputy leader, told HuffPost: "There is a challenge for us as a Labour movement about women. I don’t think anyone denies that.

"Only 38 per cent of our members are women. We’ve got some work to do, absolutely, but this just at the top that’s throughout the movement and that’s certainly something I will be hoping to play a part of as well."


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