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Labour leadership contest: Jeremy Corbyn is returned as leader

Jeremy Corbyn has been returned as leader of the Labour Party, increasing the mandate which he first won a year ago.

Mr Corbyn saw off challenger Owen Smith with 61.8% of more than half a million votes cast in the contest.

His tally of 313,209 votes was more than 60,000 higher than the 251,417 (59.5%) he secured in 2015.

Mr Smith took 193,229 votes - 38.2% of the 506,438 votes cast out of a total electorate of 654,006.

Mr Corbyn told his party that he is "honoured" to be returned to serve as leader again.

"Let's wipe that slate clean today and get on with the work we need to do as a party," he said.

Union leaders were among the first to warmly welcome Jeremy Corbyn's victory, but said Labour now has a big challenge ahead.

Dave Prentis, general secretary of Unison, said: "Jeremy Corbyn has won because he's captured the imagination of party members.

"People are inspired by his promises to end austerity, fix our broken public services and build a different kind of economy.

"But the scale of the political challenge facing Labour cannot be ignored. The party already faced an uphill battle to convince the British people before this unhelpful leadership contest.

"A way must be found so Labour can come together - using the talents of the best MPs from across the party in the shadow cabinet, taking the fight to the Tories, rather than fighting one another.

"Jeremy must show those sceptical about his leadership that he has the ability and the ideas to win an election, and enable Labour to regain the support of the British people."

Mick Whelan, leader of the train drivers' union Aslef, said: "It is now time for everyone - especially those in the Parliamentary Labour Party who have spent so much of the last year undermining Jeremy - to get behind him, to turn their fire on the Tories, and to get ready for a general election which could be just around the corner.

"Labour, under Jeremy, offers a real - and positive - alternative to the failures of the last six years.

"Over the last 12 months Jeremy has shown he is not just the man to lead Labour, but the man to heal the divisions in our country and help build a better Britain fit for the 21st century."

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