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Labour leadership election: Jeremy Corbyn leader while Tom Watson named deputy

Published 12/09/2015

Jeremy Corbyn takes to the stage after he was announced as the Labour Party's new leader at a special conference at the QEII Centre in London. Pic Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
Jeremy Corbyn takes to the stage after he was announced as the Labour Party's new leader at a special conference at the QEII Centre in London. Pic Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
Jeremy Corbyn set to become Labour leader
Labour Party leadership candidate Andy Burnham (L) and his wife Marie-France van Heel arrive to attend the ballot result for the new Labour leader, in London on September 12, 2015. Voting closed September 10, 2015 in the leadership contest for Britain's main opposition Labour party as radical leftist favourite Jeremy Corbyn vowed to "change politics" to rapturous applause at his final campaign rally. AFP PHOTO / JUSTIN TALLISJUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images
Labour Party leadership candidate Yvette Cooper (C) arrives to attend the ballot result for the new Labour leader, in London on September 12, 2015. Voting closed September 10, 2015 in the leadership contest for Britain's main opposition Labour party as radical leftist favourite Jeremy Corbyn vowed to "change politics" to rapturous applause at his final campaign rally. AFP PHOTO / JUSTIN TALLISJUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images
Labour Party leadership candidate Yvette Cooper (C) arrives to attend the ballot result for the new Labour leader, in London on September 12, 2015. Voting closed September 10, 2015 in the leadership contest for Britain's main opposition Labour party as radical leftist favourite Jeremy Corbyn vowed to "change politics" to rapturous applause at his final campaign rally. AFP PHOTO / JUSTIN TALLISJUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images
Labour Party leadership candidate Andy Burnham (L) and his wife Marie-France van Heel arrive to attend the ballot result for the new Labour leader, in London on September 12, 2015. Voting closed September 10, 2015 in the leadership contest for Britain's main opposition Labour party as radical leftist favourite Jeremy Corbyn vowed to "change politics" to rapturous applause at his final campaign rally. AFP PHOTO / JUSTIN TALLISJUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images
Labour Party leadership candidate Yvette Cooper (C) arrives to attend the ballot result for the new Labour leader, in London on September 12, 2015. Voting closed September 10, 2015 in the leadership contest for Britain's main opposition Labour party as radical leftist favourite Jeremy Corbyn vowed to "change politics" to rapturous applause at his final campaign rally. AFP PHOTO / JUSTIN TALLISJUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images

Labour leadership frontrunner Jeremy Corbyn has been elected as leader of the party.

The veteran left-winger won the leadership of the Labour Party by a landslide, taking almost 60% of more than 400,000 votes cast.

In a result which marks a fundamental change of direction for the party, the Islington North MP defeated rivals Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall in the first round of counting, taking 251,417 (59.5%) of the 422,664 votes cast.

His victory was cheered loudly by supporters at the QEII conference centre in Westminster, who had greeted him to the event by singing the Red Flag.

After 32 years on Labour's backbenches, the 66-year-old won only a handful of votes from his fellow MPs but was swept to victory in the race to replace Ed Miliband by a surge of enthusiasm from members in the country as well as new "registered supporters" who paid £3 to secure a vote.

He now faces the massive challenge of forming a shadow cabinet which will deliver his anti-austerity, anti-war policies without splitting the party. Already senior figures including shadow chancellor Chris Leslie, shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt and Ms Kendall have said they will not serve under him.

Mr Corbyn must also prepare to face David Cameron in the House of Commons for his first Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday.

Corbyn supporters chanted "Jez we did" as he took to the stage, putting on his glasses to deliver his acceptance speech.

Mr Corbyn said the campaign "showed our party and our movement, passionate, democratic, diverse, united and absolutely determined in our quest for a decent and better society that is possible for all."

And Tom Watson has been elected deputy leader of the Labour Party.

The West Bromwich East MP had been overwhelming bookies' favourite to be Labour's number two and saw off challenges from Ben Bradshaw, Stella Creasy, Angela Eagle and Caroline Flint.

Mr Watson took 39.4% of votes - 160,852 first preferences out of the 408,470 ballots cast - in the first round of counting at the QEII centre in Westminster.

But he was elected over Ms Creasy with 50.7% of votes in the third round of counting after the second preferences of eliminated candidates Ben Bradshaw and Angela Eagle were redistributed under the alternative vote system. His victory came just moments before the announcement of Labour's new leader.

Elected to Parliament in 2001, 48-year-old Mr Watson - an ex-flatmate of union boss Len McCluskey - played a small part in toppling Tony Blair and served as minister for digital engagement under Gordon Brown.

He was given charge of the 2015 election campaign by Ed Miliband but quit as deputy chair at the height of the Falkirk candidate selection row in 2013.

Mr Watson gained wider public prominence when he turned his "attack dog" attentions from political opponents to the Murdoch media empire and helped expose the phone hacking scandal.

There was a standing ovation and huge cheers as Tom Watson was announced as the new deputy leader.

"Only Labour can speak for the real Britain," he told the conference.

He will back the new leader 100% and says "only through unity comes the strength we need to fight the Tories".

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