Jeremy Corbyn has withstood the leadership challenge from Owen Smith and been successfully re-elected as leader of the Labour Party.
Mr Corbyn, the long standing Member of Parliament for Islington North and incumbent Labour leader, secured 313,209 votes and a resounding mandate of 61.8% from Labour Party members. Meanwhile Owen Smith, the MP for Pontypridd and Corbyn’s sole leadership opponent, achieved only 38.2% of the vote.
Little over a year on from the previous Labour leadership contest, Mr Corbyn has cemented his leadership credentials and actually extended his mandate from 59% of the vote in the previous contest.
While the result came as a surprise to few, with Corbyn widely expected to win, few polls had predicted that Corbyn would increase his mandate, particularly when the high turnout of 77% of eligible Labour Party members is considered. In his victory speech today, the re-elected leader declared his intention to make Labour ‘the engine of progress for our country’.
Mr Corbyn’s priority now elected must be to re-unite the party after a summer of fierce discontent. Despite landslide support in today’s election Mr Corbyn has received strong criticism this summer, epitomised by a condemning vote of no confidence by 172 MP’s and ongoing accusations of anti-Semitism. Such pronounced division has no simple remedy.
Yet Mr Corbyn has today stressed the importance of healing these party rifts, in order to create an effective opposition to Theresa May’s Conservative Government and look towards winning the next UK General Election in 2020:
Let us wipe that slate clean from today and get on with the work that we have to do as a party.
Numerous MP’s who resigned from Corbyn’s Shadow Cabinet in June have already been linked with a return to the Labour frontbenches to form a unified opposition. Similarly many vocal Owen Smith supporters, including the mayor of London Sadiq Khan, have already promised to work closely with Corbyn.