Jeremy Corbyn in landslide win for Labour party leadership

Veteran left-winger Jeremy Corbyn has won the leadership of the Labour Party by a landslide, taking almost 60 per cent of more than 400,000 votes cast.

Saturday, 12th September 2015, 1:33 pm
Jeremy Corbyn takes to the stage after he was announced as the Labour Party's new leader at a special conference at the QEII Centre in London. Photo: PA Wire

In a result which marks a fundamental change of direction for the party, the Islington North MP defeated rivals Andy Burnham, Liz Kendall and Pontefract, Castleford and Normanton MP Yvette Cooper in the first round of counting, taking 251,417 (59.5 per cent) of the 422,664 votes cast.

His victory was cheered loudly by supporters at the QEII conference centre in Westminster, who had greeted him to the event by singing the Red Flag.

After 32 years on Labour’s backbenches, the 66-year-old won only a handful of votes from his fellow MPs but was swept to victory in the race to replace Ed Miliband by a surge of enthusiasm from members in the country as well as new “registered supporters” who paid £3 to secure a vote.

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He now faces the massive challenge of forming a shadow cabinet which will deliver his anti-austerity, anti-war policies without splitting the party.

Already senior figures including shadow chancellor Chris Leslie, shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt and Ms Kendall have said they will not serve under him.

Mr Corbyn must also prepare to face David Cameron in the House of Commons for his first Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday.

Tom Watson was also elected deputy leader of the Labour Party this morning.

The West Bromwich East MP had been overwhelming bookies’ favourite to be Labour’s number two and saw off challenges from Ben Bradshaw, Stella Creasy, Angela Eagle and Caroline Flint.

Mr Watson took 39.4 per cent of votes - 160,852 first preferences out of the 408,470 ballots cast - in the first round of counting at the QEII centre in Westminster.

But he was elected over Ms Creasy with 50.7 per cent of votes in the third round of counting after the second preferences of eliminated candidates Ben Bradshaw and Angela Eagle were redistributed under the alternative vote system.

Elected to Parliament in 2001, 48-year-old Mr Watson - an ex-flatmate of union boss Len McCluskey - played a small part in toppling Tony Blair and served as minister for digital engagement under Gordon Brown.

He was given charge of the 2015 election campaign by Ed Miliband but quit as deputy chair at the height of the Falkirk candidate selection row in 2013.

Mr Watson gained wider public prominence when he turned his “attack dog” attentions from political opponents to the Murdoch media empire and helped expose the phone hacking scandal.