Jeremy Corbyn wins UK's Labour Party leadership by landslide
Jeremy Corbyn was re-elected British Labour leader by a landslide on Saturday, after a bitter leadership contest that threatened to split the UK main opposition party.
Supporters in Liverpool, northwest England, leapt to their feet cheering as the 67-year-old left-winger was confirmed winner with 61.8 percent of the vote among party members and supporters, easily defeating challenger Owen Smith.
In his acceptance speech, Corbyn urged unity, pledging to "wipe the slate clean" after accusations of bullying and fears of an irreparable breach between left-wingers and the party’s old guard.
"We have much more in common than that which divides us. As far as I'm concerned, let's wipe that slate clean from today and get on with the work we've got to do as a party together," he said.
Corbyn increased his vote share from the 59.5 percent he received on his initial election last year, when he put an anti-austerity, anti-nuclear agenda at the forefront of British politics for the first time in a generation.
His commanding victory is a major blow to Labour MPs who rebelled against him after June's vote to leave the European Union.
Corbyn was accused of lacklustre campaigning against Brexit, and many now fear he cannot provide the necessary opposition as Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservatives negotiate the terms of withdrawal.
He claims he has energised people who felt left behind by mainstream politics, drawing comparisons with anti-establishment movements across Europe like Greece's Syriza.
|Labour membership has soared under Corbyn's leadership, from just 200,000 last year to around 650,000 now.|
Labour's home affairs spokesman Andy Burnham said the party's "war of attrition" must now stop but urged Corbyn to build support among the public, not just activists.
"We cannot measure our success by the size of the membership or indeed the size of the rallies that we are holding," he told BBC radio.
Labour membership has soared under Corbyn's leadership, from just 200,000 last year to around 650,000 now.
For many supporters, he has an almost messianic appeal and claims this movement can transform into electoral success.
"Every time they challenge him, he will only get more support, because he is telling the truth," said Dee Coombes, 68, a Corbyn supporter.
Len McCluskey, leader of the trade union Unite and one of Corbyn's key backers, said MPs should now stop the "sniping, plotting and corridor coups".
Several Labour MPs indicated they would accept the result.
"Time for unity", tweeted Hilary Benn, whose resignation earlier this summer prompted the walkout of more than 40 MPs from Corbyn's shadow cabinet.
Agencies contributed to this report