Keir Starmer elected new Labour Party leader

James Morris
·Senior news reporter, Yahoo News UK
·4-min read
DURHAM, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 23: Sir Keir Starmer, Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union addresses the audience during the Labour Party Leadership hustings at the Radisson Blu Hotel on February 23, 2020 in Durham, England. Sir Keir Starmer, Rebecca Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy are vying to replace Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who offered to step down following his party's loss in the December 2019 general election. The final ballot will open to party members and registered and affiliated supporters on February 24. (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)
Sir Keir Starmer is the new leader of the Labour Party. (Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)

Sir Keir Starmer has been elected as the new leader of the Labour Party.

He won the contest with a commanding 56.2% of the 490,731 votes cast by party members.

Rebecca Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy finished second and third respectively with vote shares of 27.6% and 16.2%.

Sir Keir replaces Jeremy Corbyn, who led Labour to its worst general election result in 84 years in December last year.

The former shadow Brexit secretary promised to lead the party “into a new era” so it can “serve our country in government”.

Here is his full statement:

Meanwhile, Angela Rayner has been elected deputy leader, replacing Tom Watson. She won with a vote share of 52.6%, having stood against four other candidates.

Both Sir Keir and Rayner were key members of Corbyn’s shadow cabinet.

Labour announced the results in a press release on Saturday. A special conference had been called off due to the coronavirus crisis.

In a first warning to Boris Johnson over the government’s handling of the outbreak, Sir Keir said: “At times like this, we need good government, a government that saves lives and protects our country.

“It’s a huge responsibility and whether we voted for this government or not, we all rely on it to get this right.”

New Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer in profile

However, he also promised to “engage constructively” with the government. Earlier on Saturday, Johnson invited opposition party leaders to a special coronavirus briefing next week as part of a call to “work together”.

Sir Keir subsequently accepted the invitation following a phone call with Johnson after his election was announced.

Congratulating Sir Keir, the prime minister said:

Sir Keir, a barrister who became MP for Holborn and St Pancras since 2015, is seen as a “soft-left” politician compared to Corbyn.

His leadership campaign centred on unifying the party after a turbulent five years under Corbyn, which included a failed bid by MPs to overthrow him in 2016 and anger over his approach to Brexit and anti-Semitism claims.

Britain's opposition Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn, left, sits waiting to speak next to Keir Starmer Labour's Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union during their election campaign event on Brexit in Harlow, England, Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019. Britain goes to the polls on Dec. 12. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
Jeremy Corbyn and Sir Keir Starmer pictured in November last year during the election campaign. (AP/Matt Dunham)

After Labour’s 2019 election disaster, Sir Keir has a huge task in the coming years to make the party electable. A YouGov poll on Friday had the party at 28% with Johnson’s Conservatives on 52%.

Responding to the leadership results, Corbyn posted on Twitter:

Rayner, who was Corbyn’s shadow education secretary, said in a statement following her election: “Things have dramatically changed in our country in recent months but our values remain the same, and more important than ever.

“Those are the values we will reflect in our actions as an opposition and a movement – standing up for our public services, for our workers and carers, and for a society in which people work together and look after one another.”

DUDLEY, ENGLAND - MARCH 08: Angela Rayner, Shadow Secretary of State for Education, addresses the audience during the last Labour Party Deputy Leadership hustings at Dudley Town Hall on March 08, 2020 in Dudley, England. Ian Murray, Angela Rayner, Richard Burgon, Dr Rosena Allin-Khan and Dawn Butler are vying to become Labour's deputy leader following the departure of Tom Watson, who stood down in November last year. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Angela Rayner (Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Rayner was elected after winning 52.6% of the ballots in the third round of voting.

Rosena Allin-Khan was second with 26.1% and Richard Burgon third with 21.3%.

Ian Murray was eliminated in the second round and Dawn Butler eliminated in the first round.

Read more: Yahoo News UK’s Labour deputy leadership interviews

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