Cheers! Teetotal Jeremy Corbyn Heads To The Pub For A Rousing Rendition Of The Socialist Anthem ‘The Red Flag’ After Being Elected Labour Leader In Landslide Victory With A Crushing 59.5% Of The Vote – Daily Mail
Jeremy Corbyn this afternoon headed straight to a pub with his supporters after storming to victory in the Labour leadership contest, winning almost 60 per cent of the vote in the first round.
In the most extraordinary result in modern political history, the 66-year-old Marxist throwback who has never run anything in his life will now take charge of the party of Keir Hardie, Clement Atlee and Tony Blair.
There were cheers at the QEII Conference Centre in central London as it was confirmed that the unassuming Islington MP had defied all expectations – including his own – to become leader of Her Majesty’s Official Opposition.
After thanking the unions, attacking the media, and accusing the Conservatives of ‘social cleansing’, Mr Corbyn took his supporters to the Sanctuary pub in Westminster for a victory drink where they hailed former socialist firebrand Tony Benn and sang the socialist Red Flag anthem.
Earlier, supporters wept and punched the air, chanting ‘Jez we did, Jez we did’, after it emerged Mr Corbyn had taken 59.5 per cent of the vote – 251,417 of the 422,664 votes cast – against 19 per cent for Andy Burnham, 17 per cent for Yvette Cooper and just 4.5 per cent for Liz Kendall.
But winning could be the easy part: While he was still addressing the leadership conference, the first resignations from the frontbench emerged as his critics warned he would be a ‘f***ing disaster’.
Following Mr Corbyn’s stunning victory, the new Labour leader sneaked out of the special conference building opposite Westminster Abbey to go to the pub. Jubilant supporters sang The Red Flag word perfect as bemused tourists, including one American family, looked on.
He was joined by campaign manager John McDonnell and hard-left Unite general secretary Len McCluskey. Mr McDonnell said it was the ‘greatest victory for the left in possibly decades’. ‘I just wish Tony Benn had been here,’ he said.
He said it was an end to the ‘dark years’ where there had been ‘no discussion of socialism’, but through which Mr Corbyn had ‘kept the flame alive’.
When the result was announced, ‘the earth moved’. ‘Another world is possible,’ Mr McDonnell added. ’We want to bring this government down. We want to install in Number 10 one of the best socialists.’
Standing up, Mr Corbyn apologised to an American family whose pub lunch his supporters were interrupting – causing the crowd to chant ‘USA, USA.’
Mr Corbyn said liberties had not been ‘handed down by the rich and powerful and royalty’ but had come thanks to the efforts of ‘ordinary people’.
After 32 years as a backbench MP, during which he has voted against Labour more than 500 times, Mr Corbyn must now try to piece together a frontbench team and demand loyalty from the parliamentary party.
He will face big tests in the coming days and weeks on Tory plans to curb unions, cut benefits and join airstrikes against ISIS in Syria. Conservative Defence Secretary Michael Fallon warned Labour was now a ‘serious risk to national security’.
In a rambling but uncompromising victory speech, Mr Corbyn repeatedly attacked the Tories but gave little sign he is willing to tone down his extreme socialist views to win broad public support.
To cheers from his supports, Mr Corbyn said: ‘The Tories have used the economic crisis of 2008 to impose a terrible burden on the poorest people in this country.
‘Those that have seen their wages frozen or cut, those that can’t afford to even to sustain themselves properly, those that rely on foodbanks to get by. It is not right, it’s not necessary and it’s got to change.’
Offering his backing to Sadiq Khan, Labour’s candidate for the London Mayoral elections, warning: ‘I am fed up with the social cleansing of London by this Tory government and its policies.’
Four months after Britain rejected Mr Miliband for being too left-wing and not looking like a Prime Minister, Labour is now led by the most radical leader of a mainstream party the country has ever seen.
Punters were quick to place bets against Corbyn surviving as leader until the next general election, with thousands of pounds rushing in to bookmakers within an hour of his victory.
One Paddy Power customer put £2,000 on the new leader being deposed by 2020 at odds of 5/2, with a number of other gamblers placing bids of £100 against Corbyn lasting that long.
But privately senior Labour MPs branded the result a ‘f***ing disaster’ and warned he would not survive a year.
Another MP said it was ‘absolutely disastrous’ for the party. He said Mr Corbyn would be ‘vicious’ and move to deselect rebel MPs by flooding the party with the new supporters.
A senior backbencher added: ‘I will give him 12 months. I can’t see him lasting any longer than that.’
David Blunkett, meanwhile, said he was ‘deeply fearful’ of the direction Mr Corbyn might take the party, and said there was a danger that Labour will be in ‘perpetual opposition’ unless he dramatically changes tack.
Warning of the dangers of a party split, he urged New Labour supporters not to desert the party, saying: ‘Do not allow the people who lost us elections from 1983 onwards to be the ones who run the show.’
The former Home Secretary said someone in the conference hall had shouted to him: ‘Corbyn in, Blairites out’.
‘If that is the attitude, we’re on a road to nowhere,’ he said. ‘The message has to be clear – we need consensus, we need the enthusiasm, but above all we need policies that mean something and are relevant to people out there.’
He added: ‘I’m deeply fearful of the direction in which we might go. All of us will be giving Jeremy our best wishes in the weeks and months ahead.
Many senior Labour MPs will quick to refuse to serve under him as party staffers are braced for a ‘purge’ of non-Corbyn supporters from the Brewer’s Green headquarters.
Ahead of the announcement, one staffer told MailOnline: ‘The mood is not great. I’m getting made redundant on Monday. It’s the Corbyn purge isn’t it.’
Defeated leadership contender Yvette Cooper immediately announced that she would quit as shadow home secretary and return to the backbenches.
Shadow public health minister Liz Kendall, who secured just 4.5 per cent of the vote in the contest, is also expected to quit.
Shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt and shadow health minister Jamie Reed were also quick to confirm they would refuse to play any part in the new leadership team.
Mr Hunt said: ‘It is important to be honest about it – I have substantial political differences with Jeremy’.
Asked if he thought Mr Corbyn would find sufficient numbers of MPs willing to be part of his front bench, he said: ‘That’s for his team to discover. I imagine they are working on that.’
Mr Reed – whose Copeland constituency includes the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing site – condemned Mr Corbyn’s anti-nuclear policies as ‘poorly informed and fundamentally wrong’.
And Mr Reed warned: ‘No amount of well-meaning protest will protect the NHS, drive up standards, recruit more medical professionals or improve the accessibility of world-class healthcare to the British people. Only an elected Labour government will do this.’
Emma Reynolds, who has been an outspoken critic of Mr Corbyn’s wavering support for the EU, quit as shadow communities secretary. Writing on Twitter she said: ‘Congratulations to Jeremy – he needs to space to build his own team. I will serve our party and my constituents from backbenches.’
Others expected to refuse to serve in his team are current shadow chancellor Chris Leslie, shadow defence secretary Vernon Coaker, shadow transport secretary Michael Dugher, shadow chief secretary to the Treasury Shabana Mahmood, shadow international development secretary Mary Creagh and shadow Cabinet Office minister Lucy Powell.
During the campaign, Ms Cooper and Ms Kendall both refused to work with Mr Corbyn team, while Mr Burnham insisted the party should always come first and was prepare to work with anyone.
However, shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna – a senior centrist who withdrew from the contest after a matter of days – issued a plea for the party to ‘come together’ behind its new leader.
In a post on Facebook, Mr Umunna said: ‘Now the contest is over, we must respect the result, come together and focus on providing the most credible and effective opposition to the Tories.’
Mr Corbyn is expected to promote Angela Eagle and Owen Smith to more high profile roles, and his close friend and leftwing firebrand John McDonnell is in line for a top job.
Corbyn supporter Clive Lewis, who entered Parliament as MP for Norwich South in May, said: ‘One of the things that Jeremy is about is about opening up the party, being more inclusive. Rather than the top-down ‘Here is the policy’, it’s going to be from the bottom up and everyone will have an input into it.’
At the height of Corbynmania the party was deluged with members, swelled by new 113,000 registered supporters who paid just £3 to get a vote, along with an extra 148,182 affiliated supporters and 105,973 full members who have signed up since May.
It led to allegations of ‘entryism’ by extreme left-wingers and Trotskyites seeking to hijack the contest in favour of Mr Corbyn. There were also claims that many people did not receive their ballot papers in time to vote, leading to calls for the result to be delayed for three days.
But in his speech, Mr Corbyn said: ‘During these amazing three months, our party has changed. We have grown enormously, because of the hopes of so many ordinary people for a different Britain, a better Britain, a more equal Britain, a more decent Britain.
‘They are fed up with the inequality, the injustice, the unnecessary poverty. All those issues have brought people in in a spirit of hope and optimism.
‘I say to the new members of the party, or those who have joined as registered or affiliated supporters – welcome. Welcome to our party, welcome to our movement. Can I say to those returning to the party who were in it before and felt disillusioned and went away. Welcome back, welcome back to your party, welcome home.’
He said his campaign had given the lie to claims that young Britons are apathetic about politics, showing instead that they are ‘a very political generation that were turned off by the way in which politics was being conducted’. He said: ‘We have to and must change that.’
Mr Corbyn said: ‘The fightback now of our party gathers speed and gathers pace.’
Iain McNicol, Labour’s general secretary, earlier insisted that the party had ‘weeded out’ people who had tried to ‘subvert our democracy’.
Addressing the leadership conference, He added: ‘We have run a free and fair election.’
Mr McNicol added: ‘In the leader we place our trust and on their shoulders they carry the hopes of millions in Britain and beyond our borders. It is not to be taken lightly or without a due sense of responsibility.
‘Friends, this Labour Party is bigger than any of us.’
In a thinly-veiled swipe at Mr Corbyn, he warned the new leader: ‘Our leaders have come and gone through the decades.’
He also aimed a dig at the thousands of £3 supporters behind Mr Corbyn’s surge. He said: ‘I look forward to seeing them on the doorstep.’ Mr McNichol said he wanted them to do more than ‘click a button’ to vote in the leadership contest.
Economist Richard Murphy, whose ‘people’s quantitative easing’ plan has been adopted by Corbyn, told the BBC: ‘I’m going to be very pleased that ideas I’ve promoted for a long time are now, I guess, going to be part of Labour Party policy, and I will be delighted about that.’
Mr Corbyn only scraped on to the ballot paper after gaining the nominations of Labour MPs who did not want him to win and was installed with odds of 200/1.
Andy Burnham, the northern shadow health secretary who had shifted to the left, was seen as the frontrunner while shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper presented the strongest threat from the centre.
After strong Blairite candidates including Chuka Umunna and Tristram Hunt pulled out of the race, it was left to Liz Kendall to fly the flag for moderates in the party – with little success.
Union barons who backed Mr Corbyn over his rivals could not contain their delight at his victory.
Len McCluskey, general secretary of the UK’s biggest union Unite, said: ‘Voters can now look at Labour and see, unquestionably, that it stands for fairness, justice, peace and strong communities. It is the party of hope, ready to take on a Government hell-bent on making life worse for ordinary people.
‘The task now for all of us who support Labour is to back the leadership team, to unite, to turn to face the Tories and hold them to account. It is what the voters expect, it is the way back to power and it is the duty of those at all levels of the party to deliver.’
UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis said: ‘Today people for the first time in a decade are hearing a message of hope. ‘A clarion call that there is another way, an alternative message that it doesn’t need to be like this.
‘People see in Jeremy a politician who has created a wave, a vision of a better, kinder world that works for everyone, not just a self-serving few. ‘Jeremy has ignited a spark of hope, a spark that had been dampened for decades. This is a chance to claim back the heart and the soul of the party and make it our Labour Party once more.’
Outgoing acting leader Harriet Harman today issued a plea for unity, urging people across the party to take roles on the frontbench.
She told The Times: ‘You’ve got a commitment to the party whoever is the leader.
‘I’ve served under Michael Foot to Tony Blair, my first boss was Michael Meacher.
‘The point is, it’s a broad team and you don’t decide you’ve got abilities and energy and commitment by virtue of who the leader is.’
Former mayor of London Ken Livingstone – tipped for a job under a Corbyn leadership – insisted he a is a ‘consensual’ politician who wants to have proper discussions about the direction of the party on key issues.
‘It will work if Jeremy starts to connect with people,’ he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
‘He is nice and that connects with people. Don’t forget, a big factor in John Major’s surprise win in 92 was the fact that people thought John Major was nice.’
The ex-MP said he has ‘never seen him lose his temper or even be rude to anyone’.
‘And he has an economic strategy to modernise our economy, create a better range of jobs and build homes to rent.’
Shadow Scotland secretary Ian Murray told BBC News: ‘Whoever is crowned winner, we will unite behind him. That’s what the Labour Party and the Labour movement does.’
Mr Murray said that the almost 600,000 people signed up to vote in the election amounted to around one in 100 of the entire UK population, adding: ‘The Labour Party should be very proud of the way it’s been able to engage communities in this and the number of people who’ve turned out to vote and registered to vote.’
Yesterday the Labour party announced Sadiq Khan, the son of a bus driver and former human rights lawyer, would be the party’s candidate in the London Mayoral election.
His victory over Tessa Jowell, a Cabinet minister under Tony Blair, was seen as further proof of the party’s lurch to the left.
Mr Khan was one of the MPs responsible for securing Mr Corbyn a place on the ballot paper only to ensure a wider debate, despite backing actually Mr Burnham as leader.
As well as appointing a new frontbench, the new leader will have to prepare to appear on BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show tomorrow morning and the first confrontation with David Cameron at Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday.
The Conservatives have timed key votes on controversial anti-strike laws for this week to pile pressure on Labour’s links to the unions.
Having resisted the temptation to comment on the contest for months, the Tories are preparing to take the gloves off.
Mr Cameron yesterday warned victory for Mr Corbyn would be bad for the country as it would break a consensus between the main parties on issues such as nationalisation, nuclear weapons, taxation and union laws
‘The country is stronger when you have shared objectives rather than when you’ve got someone who wants to take us back to the days of Michael Foot and Arthur Scargill,’ he said.
The contest showed that Labour had ‘completely vacated the intellectual playing field and no longer, in my view, represents working people’, he said.