LONDON: Radical leftwinger Jeremy Corbyn today won the crown of Britain’s main opposition Labour party in a landslide victory, becoming the nation’s most left-wing political leader for over 30 years. The 66-year-old socialist, whose policies have been compared to those of Greece’s Syriza and Spain’s Podemos, was named leader after clinching 59.5 percent of the 422,664 votes cast by Labour party members and supporters. The newly-elected leader condemned “grotesque levels of inequality” and “an unfair welfare system” in his victory speech to party members in central London. The veteran campaigner also called for Britain’s Conservative government to show more “compassion” in dealing with the Syrian refugee crisis and said he would attend a demonstration planned in London later today. He said Labour was “united and absolutely determined in our quest for a decent and better society that is possible for all”. North Islington MP Corbyn has electrified Labour’s leadership race, which was triggered by the resignation of Ed Miliband after he lost May’s general election to David Cameron’s right-wing pro-austerity Conservatives. “The fightback now of our party gathers speed and gathers pace,” Corbyn added in his speech. The veteran MP comfortably beat the three other more centrist candidates in the race — Yvette Cooper, Andy Burnham and Liz Kendall — who all had far stronger support from fellow Labour MPs. Corbyn has spent a total of 32 years on Labour’s backbenches and only won a handful of votes from his own MPs — but was swept to victory on a wave of enthusiasm from Labour supporters following the end of the Miliband era. The stunning result has however sparked talk of a deep split within Labour — which was thrown into turmoil by Cameron’s shock election win in May. Corbyn’s triumph echoed anti-austerity sentiment across Europe because of his rhetoric about ending austerity cuts and taxing the rich. His policies include spending more on public services, scrapping nuclear weapons, renationalising industries like the railways and involving Islamist groups Hamas and Hezbollah in Middle East peace talks.
Socialist Jeremy Corbyn wins UK Labour leadership in landslide
Published: 12:40 am Sep 13, 2015