Following a Low key campaign which got lower after the coronavirus pandemic took us all into lockdown, the Labour Party has today announced the results of the election to succeed Jeremy Corbyn as leader. The winner was Kier Starmer and his deputy leader will be Angela Rayner, shadow Education secretary. In a video statement Kier Starmer said “It is the honour and privilege of my life to be elected as the new Labour leader. However, this comes at a moment like none other in our lifetime due to the outbreak of coronavirus. The current crisis reminds us of how precious life is but also how fragile.It reminds us of what really matters – our family, our friends, our relationships, the love we have for one another, our health, the connections with those that we don’t know. These make up society. They remind us that we share our lives together. We have to trust one another and look after one another.The purpose of holding the government to account during the coronavirus outbreak is to save lives and to protect our country.The weeks ahead are going to be really difficult and I fear there are going to be some awful moments for many of us but it is not the only task for the Labour Party to tackle. When we do get through this, we cannot go back to business as usual. This virus has exposed the fragility of our society, it has lifted a curtain. Too many will have given too much, some of us will have lost too much. we know in our hearts things are going to have to change.”
The result for the Leadership ballor was Sir Keir Starmer – 275,780 (56.2%) Rebecca Long-Bailey – 135,218 (27.6%) Lisa Nandy – 79,597 (16.2%) which means Starmer won on the first round.
The result for the Deputy Leadership saw Dawn Butler knocked out after the first round and then Ian Murray knocked out in the second round with their votes being redistributed. Rosena Allin-Khan was the runner up with 118,853 total votes, whilst Richard Burgon came third with 92,643 total votes. This meant that Angela Rayner was elected at the third round, with 228,944 first and second preference votes in total, getting her to 52.6%. Labour website announcement here. 150,000 Labour members didn’t vote but of those who did only 136 were spoilt papers.
Response from around Somerset
Leader of Labour controlled Bridgwater Town Council Cllr Brian Smedley said “In his first speech Kier Starmer has gone straight to the key socialist point in this current crisis. That together we are strong. Jeremy Corbyn put the Labour Party back on a socialist track and we need to unite now to honour and fight for that legacy. Starmer has spoken in favour of common ownership, ending outsourcing in the NHS , demanding international action on climate change, rail mail and water nationalization and repealing anti-union laws and has clearly said ‘no more illegal wars’. We need to work together now to have a credible socialist alternative in place when this pandemic is over and capitalism is shown to have failed the world.”
Deputy Leader cllr Kathy Pearce added “At last the leadership has been announced. It has seemed a long time coming but I’m pleased that Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner are our leadership team to take our Party forward. It’s taken these terrible unprecedented times for people to realise what we already knew – it’s a strong public sector such as the NHS, Social Care, Councils on whom we rely keep society functioning. For 10 years the Conservative government has consistently undermined these services, now with tragic consequences. And so, more than ever before, a strong united Labour Party, in which the wider public has confidence, is vital to hold the government to account and to offer an alternative future of a fairer, kinder, society in which everyone is valued and with public services at the centre. With our new leaders, I believe we have a chance of achieving that.”
Cllr Mick Lerry, Labours Economic spokesman on Bridgwater Town Council said “The Labour Party now has a leader who can unite the party and bring about the transformational change needed for the Country. From the early stages of Keir Starmer’s leadership campaign he had the support of Constituency Labour Parties, Labour MPs and trade unions. Many members and Labour voters realised that the Party had lost 4 General Elections and without political power, you are unable to bring about social justice, political and economic change. Keir will make sure that the Labour Party is organised and ready for the challenge of the Climate Change Emergency and the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. Keir knows that it will be important for the Labour Party to tackle anti-semitism within the Party and to make sure that Labour Party MPs form a strong and effective opposition, to a Government that is already struggling to deliver. The Political world has changed in the last month and Keir Starmer will give real focus and leadership to the Labour Party”.
Cllr Leigh Redman, leader of the Labour group on Somerset County Council said “, I watched with excitement the announcement of our new party leader, I am pleased the election is over, in these times of national uncertainty we need a leader to hold Boris to account, I truly believe that in Keir Starmer we have that leader, a true diplomat and analyst, ably supported by the amazing Angela Rayner, I know that now is a time for all sides and groups in my party to unite behind Keir and Angela, we need to formulate a plan that will see us capitalise on Johnsons people bashing policies, when we come out of this emergency things will be different, building from the roots of our party just as Jeremy has started we must go forward together, I am proud to be a local Councillor representing my community, Keir was clear that he will give both, members and Councillors more of a say in how our party is run. I hope that as our new leader Keir will be given the support he deserves and look forward to working with him in any way I can. “
Sean Dromgoole, Chair of Somerton and Frome Labour Party said “My congratulations to Kier and Angela on their wins in the leadership and deputy leadership elections. You both served with distinction under the last leadership and it is for you to helm us now in this unprecedented time. While you arrive at a time of fear and failure, I believe going forwards the public, will be looking for solutions quite beyond anything capitalism can offer. Their heroes will be found on wards, in care homes and stacking shelves. An economic system that continues to reward those who would bet against them rather than do their work must fail. Tricky times ahead but with enormous potential. If I have one hope for today it is that as you put together your team, you cast your net as wide as possible. You could a lot worse than finding ways to include both Lisa and Rebecca who have each distinguished themselves previously and during the campaign. Good luck and I look forward to serving both of you.”
From Taunton the Labour candidate in the 2019 election Liam Canham wrote “We now have a new leader in Kier Starmer and deputy leader in Angela Rayner. I would like to offer my congratulations to both winners and a very well done to all other candidates in both the leader and deputy leader contest. We all know the level of the work that we have to put in over the coming years in order to turn the tide on the years of Tory rule and the damage it has done. It is right therefore that we all unite as a collective behind Kier and Angela and work together to right the wrongs that have occurred within our society over the past decade. I very much look forward over the coming months and years for our CLP to play it’s part in championing the Labour cause and campaigning for a better and fairer society”.
And Taunton Labour Councillor Brenda Weston added “The current global health crisis, and the tragic toll among health workers and our communities is exposing the years of Tory-led neglect of our essential public services. We need to regroup as a party, and rebuild confidence and support among those who rejected us last December. I’m confident that Keir Starmer will be a credible and powerful voice for Labour and for the voiceless both during the present crisis and as we move into the post-Covid future.”
Labour councillor from North Petherton ,Julian Taylor, said “Now that we have a decisive result confirming the strength of our membership we must unite under the leadership of Kier Starmer and Angela Rayner. To unify the party and challenge and confront Boris and his henchmen at every opportunity. Build for the future with a Labour Government. “
West Somerset Branch Secretary Lucy Naylor said “It was a relief to finally get the results from the leadership election, albeit in a chaotic and anti-climatic manner. The world has changed significantly since the election was called. The last few weeks of the campaign have been, rightly, overshadowed by CoronaVirus. The party has overwhelmingly voted for Keir Starmer and Angela Raynor. As Keir Starmer said in his acceptance speech, “this virus has exposed the fragility of our society….things are going to have to change .I am a ready to stand up for my community now, more than ever, and work towards a new society. As an opposition holding the shambolic Tory party to account and then as a strong party of Government.”
Dylan Tippetts (He/Him/His) – LGBT+ Officer for Bridgwater and West Somerset said “I am delighted to see Keir Starmer elected leader of our great party in the first round of voting. This is a credit to the unity that Keir has brought into the party during this leadership campaign and displays a clear message on how we will continue – as an unstoppable, united force for change. Now more than ever, we need an effective opposition in Government to fight for the lives that are being dismissed, and I am confident in Keir’s ability to deliver it. Another future isn’t just possible now, it’s reality. “
Labour Mayor of Bridgwater Cllr Tony Heywood said “Keir Starter has been elected by a convincing majority. It is important that we all acknowledge this, get behind the new leader and focus our energy on holding the government to account.”
Dunwear Councillor Alexia Bartlett added “Now the Labour election is over and the new leader has been duly elected by a resounding majority, it is time to get behind Keir and work forward to our end goal – world domination (by which i mean slightly more MPs than last time).”
West Somerset Labour member Shanti Roos said “After having supported Keir’s campaign for nearly three months, I am so happy that Keir has won the leadership race. I enjoyed being a volunteer on the leadership campaign. I have been mostly active in the digital team through Facebook “no fear” posting, providing suggestions (kids video, website menu), flagging issues, phone banking, helping at the Roundhouse event and Bristol hustings welcome party, suggestions to the campaign team and much more.I really hope all members will join Keir in his efforts to bring our part together so we can fight as one to get the Tories out and Labour back in power, to change lives for the better.”
Bridgwater and West Somerset Labour candidate in the 2019 election, Oliver Thornton, had this to say “I’m really happy to welcome Kier and Angela to the Labour leadership. I urge our members and supporters to learn from our recent history and get behind our new leadership however you voted. It’s so important we move forward with unity and I have full confidence in Kier and Angela to stay true to the commitments they made in campaigns. We find ourselves in difficult and uncertain times during the Cordvid-19 pandemic. Many households are faced with hardship. Yet when this virus has run its course we will have an opportunity to to reshape our society, to take good care of our most vulnerable, our NHS and our environment. We must hold this government to account and take the. opportunity to establish positive change that will improve wellbeing in our community.”
The result wasn’t welcomed by everybody but a statement by disgruntled Bridgwater Labour student member Gemma Shanahan summed up a positive attitude “I have to say that I was disappointed with the result, ideologically I don’t agree with Starmer and worry that he’ll push the party back towards the right. However, I refuse to do what people who disliked Corbyn did, and that is refuse to back the leadership. I will stand behind Starmer, because I support Labour Party Policy and Principles and I will not sabotage my own party because I disagree with the leader.”
Meanwhile Bridgwater Branch Chair Glen Burrows added “While Jeremy Corbyn was successfully working to build a mass party, energise young people and develop policies for a socialist future, it was eminently clear that factions within the Party would stop at nothing to undermine him. This must not be allowed to happen again. I hope those factions, and they include some powerful people within the Labour Party , will start to understand the enormous damage they have done to the Party and to the people of this country. Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner did not get my votes, but now that they are elected, I do not intend to sulk, but will endeavour to develop a proper understanding of what solidarity and collective action mean, both at national and local level. That, of course, includes constructive criticism of our leadership when they don’t carry out the policies and principles which we stand for. I don’t have the same confidence in these two leaders that I had in Corbyn and McDonnell, but I am prepared to support them if they truly, as they say, want to support the policies that now represent the Labour Party.”