Corbyn Sweeps To Victory With 59.5% Of Vote

Corbyn Sweeps To Victory With 59.5% Of Vote

Jeremy Corbyn has been elected the new leader of the Labour Party in one of the biggest political shocks of recent times.

The veteran left-wing MP stormed to victory in the first round, taking 59.5% of the 422,664 votes cast.

He left his closest rival, Andy Burnham, trailing on 19%, with Yvette Cooper winning 17% & Liz Kendall 4.5%.

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The result of the ballot of party members, trade unionists & people who paid £3 to sign up as Labour supporters was revealed at the QEII conference centre in Westminster.

Tom Watson was earlier announced as the party's new deputy leader .

As Mr Corbyn's landslide win was announced, his supporters cheered loudly & chanted: "Jez we did!"

:: Watch special coverage of the Labour leadership election result on Sky News

The anti-austerity Islington North MP told the crowd: "During these astonishing three months, our party has changed.

"We have grown enormously, because of the hopes of so many ordinary people for a different Britain, a better Britain, a more equal Britain, a more decent Britain.

"They are fed up with the inequality, the injustice, the unnecessary poverty. All those issues have brought people in in a spirit of hope & optimism."

He said it was time to end "grotesque levels of inequality."

"The Tories have used the economic crisis of 2008 to impose a terrible burden on the poorest people of this country," he said.

"It's not right, it's not necessary & it's received to change."

He said the party is going to become more "inclusive, more involved, more democratic" & will "shape the future of everyone in this country".

"We don't have to be unequal, it doesn't have to be unfair, poverty isn't inevitable, things can & they will change," he said.

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Mr Corbyn, who calls himself a democratic socialist, said he will be attending a Refugees Welcome Here rally in London once the leadership conference was finished.

"My first act as leader of the party will be to go to the demonstration this afternoon to show support for the way refugees should be treated & must be treated in this country," Mr Corbyn said.

As the result was read out, he hugged his fellow leadership candidates & praised them in his victory speech.

"It has been a fascinating experience for all of us & I want to thank them for the way the debates were conducted, the way that we were able to put forward political debate & political differences & still come out of the end of it with a group hug," he said.

"We are going to reform ourselves as an Abba tribute band & continue this work in the future."

He moreover thanked the party's interim leader, Harriet Harman, for "her absolute commitment & passion for decency, equality & the rights of women in our society". 

Praising his new deputy, Mr Corbyn said: "Tom is passionate approximately communication, passionate approximately holding the state, & unaccountable people who don't wish to be accountable, to account."

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He moreover had praise for his predecessor, Ed Miliband, who he said "stood up to the abuse of the media".

"I had a very long conversation with Ed a couple of days ago & I thanked him for his work as leader of the party, I thanked him for his work as environment secretary & somebody who is passionate approximately defending the world's environment against the way it's being destroyed at the present time," he said.

"But I moreover thanked him for the way in which he stood up to the abuse that he received by much of our media.

"And the dignity he showed when his late father, the tremendous Ralph Miliband, was so brutally abused by some of our media. So, Ed, thank you for all of that."

Mr Miliband in turn offered his congratulations, saying: "Jeremy has won a very clear victory. He has won a victory in all sections of the party.

"I believe we should respect that mandate. At the same time I believe he has a huge responsibility… to use the talents of people who didn't vote for him, who may have said things approximately him in the leadership election that weren't particularly complimentary."

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Mr Corbyn was a last-minute entry to the race & had initially been viewed as 500-1 outsider to succeed Mr Miliband, who quit after the party’s disastrous election defeat.

The three-month leadership campaign – & Mr Corbyn's popularity – revealed deep divisions in the party & the new leader is now tasked with uniting it.

Within moments of victory, he had his first frontbench resignation: shadow health minister Jamie Reed tweeted his congratulations to Mr Corbyn – along with his resignation letter.

Since then, several other senior Labour figures have resigned from the frontbench, including Ms Cooper, Ms Kendall, Chuka Umunna & Tristram Hunt.

After giving his victory speech, Mr Corbyn, who does not drink, headed to a nearby pub, which was packed with members of his team & other supporters.

He held up a tea towel bearing the words of left-wing icon Tony Benn: "Hope is the fuel of progress & fear is the prison in which you put yourself."

Source: “Sky News”