Jeremy Corbyn Sweeps to Victory in Labour Leadership Contest

Radical left-winger Jeremy Corbyn swept to victory with 59.5 percent of the vote, meaning there was no need for further rounds of voting under the party's "alternative vote" system.

The sensational result, unthinkable just months ago, will reshape Britain's political landscape, and see one of Labour's most rebellious MPs lead the party that governed for 13 years before being voted out of power in 2010.

He beat rivals Andy Burnham who received 19 percent, Yvette Cooper who received 17 percent, and Liz Kendall who received 4.5 percent of the vote. There were 540,272 eligible voters and some 422,664 people cast votes - 207 votes were spoiled. Tom Watson was voted deputy leader in the third round of voting. The West Bromwich East MP beat Ben Bradshaw, Stella Creasey, Angela Eagle and Caroline Flint.

In his speech, Corbyn thanked Iain McNicol, the general secretary of the Labour Party and Harriet Harman who has been the interim leader since Ed Miliband resigned after the May general election. He paid tribute to the other candidates and thanked those who attended the hustings during his campaign.

Corbyn also took the opportunity to thank his family and to address the media, telling them to leave the relatives of public figures alone. He thanked the MPs who nominated him, acknowledging that there was "some reluctance to do so" in some cases. He welcomed new members of Labour, noting that young people "had been written off as uninterested in politics. But they are very political. They are just turned off by the way politics has been conducted."

Corbyn also addressed the refugee crisis, saying that the U.K. must deal with it humanely. "We are one world. Let that message go out today," the new Labour leader said. He finished by saying, "The party is going to become more inclusive, more involved, and more democratic...Poverty does not have to be inevitable. Things can, and they will, change," before receiving a standing ovation. He is expected to celebrate his victory by joining the Refugees Welcome march which is taking place today in Trafalgar Square in London.

Speaking outside his home Ed Miliband congratulated Corbyn saying, "I'll be offering Jeremy Corbyn my support. I hope also that Jeremy Corbyn reaches out to all parts of the party because he has a big job to do to unite the party. Jeremy has won a very clear victory in all sections. I believe we should respect that mandate."

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams congratulated Corbyn: "He is a good friend of Ireland and of the Irish Peace Process," and the Green party leader Natalie Bennett said in a statement that her party will be "delighted" to work with Corbyn.

However, others were less happy with the result. Labour MP Jamie Reed, who was shadow health minister, responded by tweeting a picture of his resignation letter.

Corbyn only made it onto the ballot on the last day of nominations as he struggled to gain the 35 nominations from MPs required to run as a candidate. However, his principled, anti-austerity message struck a chord, with changes to the voting system swelling the numbers of people eligible to vote in the contest from roughly 200,000 at the time of May's general election loss to more than 540,000 people by the deadline for receiving a ballot.

Members of the public could sign up as "supporters" for three pounds ($4.63) to get a vote, leading to suspicions that members of other parties were signing up. Labour said it had a "robust" system for weeding out those who didn't support the "aims and values" of the party. Among those ejected were a Conservative MP, Tim Loughton, and over 200 members of the Green party.

Corbyn's election will signal a sea change in Labour policy. He rejects austerity policies implemented by the Conservatives and previous coalition government, which had been largely accepted by Labour. Instead, he endorses "People's Quantitative Easing" (PQE), a policy of creating money electronically and using it to fund social projects.

Corbyn has also said he would apologize for the Iraq war, which the UK took part in under the leadership of former Labour prime minister Tony Blair. Blair attacked Corbyn during the campaign, memorably saying that Labour members who felt their hearts were with Corbyn should "get a transplant." Corbyn has also come under fire for his links to militant groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah, who he has in the past described as "friends." He says he used the term in a diplomatic context.

Corbyn also supports the renationalisation of the railways and scrapping the U.K.'s Trident nuclear deterrent and has said he will allow the party membership to have a greater say over policy.

Victory for the left-winger will also likely lead to a change in personnel at the top of the party. Many senior figures in the party have said they will refuse to serve in a shadow cabinet led by Corbyn, including Cooper and Kendall. Andy Burnham said he would be open to serving under Corbyn, but was secretly recorded by the Sun newspaper telling a donor that a Corbyn victory would be a "disaster for the party."

Jeremy Corbyn Sweeps to Victory in Labour Leadership Contest | Politics
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