Jeremy Corbyn has defied both the odds and his critics and today been elected leader of the Labour Party.
Corbyn, 66, was crowned Labour’s new leader following a stormy three-month election campaign that featured alarming warnings from former Labour prime ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown that the lawmaker’s leadership would push Labour “over the cliff’s edge to the jagged rocks below.”
Mr Corbyn, who began the contest as a rank outsider, saw off a challenge from frontbenchers Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall.
Results of Labour leadership election – won in first round by Jeremy Corbyn pic.twitter.com/BVFL2D69eg
— BBC News Graphics (@BBCNewsGraphics) September 12, 2015
He gained 251,417 or 59.5% of first preference votes – 40% more than his nearest rival Mr Burnham, who got 19%.
Ms Cooper was third on 17% and Ms Kendall a distant fourth with 4.5% of the vote.
A total of 422,664 people cast a vote – a turnout of 76%. Former minister and Gordon Brown ally Tom Watson was elected deputy leader.
Corbyn supporters chanted “Jez we did” as he took to the stage, putting on his glasses to deliver his acceptance speech.
Corbyn said the win “showed our party and our movement, passionate, democratic, diverse, united and absolutely determined in our quest for a decent and better society that is possible for all.”
In the speech Corbyn voiced his support for welcoming refugees to the country and treating them as “human beings.”
“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 and must be treated in this country,” he said.
He spoke vehemently about tackling social inequality and called the housing crisis in London a “social cleansing” led by the Tories.
Corbyn has said that if Labour returns to power he will raise taxes on the wealthy, return major infrastructure such as railways back to state ownership and aggressively reject interventions in foreign conflicts.
Corbyn was virtually unknown before the summer when his popularity surged amid pledges to bring a “new kind of politics” to Britain.
Tom Watson has been elected deputy leader of the Labour Party
He beat four other contenders for the job – Ben Bradshaw, Stella Creasy, Angela Eagle and Caroline Flint.
Mr Watson will serve under veteran left-wing MP Jeremy Corbyn, who was named party leader with 59.4% of the vote in the first round.
He promised to back the leader 100%, adding “only through unity comes the strength we need to fight the Tories”.
In his victory speech, Mr Corbyn thanked his new deputy, adding: “Tom is passionate about communication, passionate about holding the state, and unaccountable people who don’t wish to be accountable, to account.