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SIR KEIR STARMER was elected leader of the Labour Party, the party announced today.
The former shadow Brexit secretary was elected in a first-round victory with 56.2 per cent of the vote, defeating Rebecca Long Bailey and Lisa Nandy.
His 275,780 votes compared with 135,218 (27.6 per cent) for Ms Long Bailey and 79,597 (16.2 per cent) for Ms Nandy.
Angela Rayner, who served as shadow education secretary under Jeremy Corbyn, was elected deputy leader of the party.
The new leader paid tribute to his rivals and to Mr Corbyn in his victory speech and vowed that the country could not “return to normal” after the Covid-19 pandemic.
“When we get through this it’ll be because of our NHS staff, our care workers, our ambulance drivers, our emergency services, our cleaners, our porters.
“It will be because of the hard work and bravery of every key worker a they took on this virus and kept our country going.
“For too long they’ve been taken for granted and poorly paid. They were last and now they should be first,” he declared.
He also apologised for the “stain on our party” that was anti-semitism, which organisations such as the Jewish Labour Movement, the Board of Deputies of British Jews and a number of MPs accused Labour of tolerating under Mr Corbyn, though bodies such as Jewish Voice for Labour dispute this.
As Mr Starmer was one of the most prominent advocates of the second referendum pledge that saw Labour heavily beaten by the Conservative promise to “get Brexit done” in December, the result will spark fears that the party is doubling down on its failed pro-EU strategy.
He also resigned from the shadow cabinet during the “chicken coup” of 2016 that attempted to remove Mr Corbyn, though he said today that he regarded the former leader as a “friend” who had “energised our movement.”
Train drivers’ union general secretary Mick Whelan, who also chairs Labour Unions, the organisation which represents all those trade unions affiliated to the Labour Party, said he welcomed the result.
“Keir and his deputy, Angela Rayner, are ready to rebuild Labour as an electoral force in Britain. They have the ideals, the vision, the organisational expertise, and the determination to deliver for all the people of this country,” he said.
“We look forward to playing our part in preparing proposals, with shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald, not just for the railway, but for an integrated transport system in this country, and to help rebuild Britain’s battered economy.”
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey also extended “warm congratulations” to Mr Starmer and Ms Rayner.
“Both Keir and Angela have pledged to build upon our party’s radicalism. It is the job now of our movement to support them in this as they move forward to ensure our party plays its full part in our national political life in these unprecedented times,” he said.
“Now, more than ever, we need a strong, united labour movement because it will be our determination to secure decency, dignity and fairness for all working people that will ensure we find a way out of this crisis and towards a better future.”
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