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Politics PopWrapped | Politics

The New Labour Leader And Deputy Leader Are...

Sydney Lanier Burke | PopWrapped Author

Sydney Lanier Burke

09/12/2015 6:55 pm
PopWrapped | Politics
The New Labour Leader And Deputy Leader Are... | Labour
Media Courtesy of Telegraph

The UK Labour Party has announced the two people who will be leading them -- possibly into the next election cycle in 2020 -- and anyone who has been paying attention won't be surprised by the result.


Courtesy of Telegraph

Jeremy Corbyn has been crowned as the new leader, with Tom Watson serving as his deputy.

Leadership candidate Liz Kendall had already admitted defeat in the race.  Kendall was the first to announce her candidacy but was criticised for being too right-wing, called a Blairite -- a four letter word in today's Labour Party.  While she certainly doesn't agree with most of his stances, Kendall recognised the likelihood of a Corbyn leadership and expressed her desire for a united party:

If Jeremy Corbyn wins, it would be a huge mistake not to accept that result as legitimate. The voters will have made their decision and the rest of us must accept it as such.

Andy Burnham was widely considered to be the front-runner when the race began, but the fervor for Jeremy Corbyn was overwhelming.  Burnham had the early support of several trade unions -- an important aspect of the Labour Party's membership -- and seemed the heir apparent when Ed Miliband resigned following the General Election in May.

Yvette Cooper's candidacy was always just a step behind Burnham's.  Her armour was slightly dented by her husband's defeat in the General Election, though she remained in her position; Ed Balls not only lost his seat, but he was a member of Miliband's shadow cabinet, making the defeat that bit sharper.  Cooper was seen as a serious option for the party in a time when there has been rumblings of needing female leadership.

New leader Jeremy Corbyn announced his candidacy quite late and barely scraped together the required nominations to make it on the ballot.  His candidacy was intended, originally, to open the debate and give the left wing of the party a voice in the process; his presence would require the other candidates to answer questions they wouldn't otherwise. Even Corbyn considered himself a long shot in the race, stating before he secured the nominations:

If we get on the ballot, fine, we’ll carry on with the debate. If we don’t, it’s fine, as we’ve already raised the issue of austerity and will continue to push for a different economic direction for the party.

Corbyn, however, received more than 50% of the first preference votes, meaning he got through on the first round of vote-counting. Needing only 211,332 votes to win the first round, he received 251,417 -- 59.5% of the ballots.  422,664 votes were cast as first preference.

Corbyn stood to speak just after his win was announced, and his entrance was met with cheers of 'Jez we did!' -- in reference to the chants of 'Jez we can!' in his candidacy meetings, echoing US President Barack Obama's 'Yes we can!' slogan.  He, surprisingly, name-dropped former Labour Leader, Ed Miliband, thanking him for standing up for the environment and commending him for his dignity in the face of the party and the media turning on him following the General Election results in May.  He also spoke highly of fellow candidates Andy Burnham for his undying commitment to improving the NHS; Yvette Cooper for her serious work promoting sympathy and humanity toward refugees in recent days; and Liz Kendall for maintaining civility and friendship with him despite holding vastly different and "unpopular" opinions.  Corbyn followed this with a speech outlining how he sees the party in coming days and speaking clearly about his stance on many global and local issues.

Leadership votes (first round) were as follows: Jeremy Corbyn, 59.5%; Andy Burnham, 19%; Yvette Cooper, 17%; Liz Kendall, 4.5%.


Courtesy of Birmingham Mail

The race for Deputy Leader was not quite as contentious, though there were more choices on the ballot.  Tom Watson was the early favourite of several trade unions, but many voters were energised by Stella Creasy's frankness in her campaign.  Last week, she released a video on YouTube in which she reads out angry (and sometimes vulgar) emails she has received over the course of the campaign. The video is below, but do be warned that it is NSFW thanks to the language she has been subject to in recent days.

The other candidates for Deputy Leader failed to make ripples in many cases.  Caroline Flint served in Miliband's shadow cabinet as Energy Secretary, and she closely aligned herself with his campaign leading up to the General Election. Ben Bradshaw has been a stolid mouthpiece for the party over his tenure as MP, but he wasn't able to excite the voters.  Angela Eagle refused to allow her candidacy to be about factions within the party, but this decision also made her a less likely candidate because she lacked support from these factions.

Deputy leadership votes (third round) are as follows: Tom Watson, 50.7%; Stella Creasy, 26%; Caroline Flint, 22%. Ben Bradshaw and Angela Eagle had been removed from the count by the third round.

To watch the entire leadership conference, check out the video below.  It's over an hour long, but it contains the complete proceedings.  If you want to skip to the acceptance speeches, you'll find Watson's at 31:00 and Corbyn's at 45:35.


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