Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn wins landslide victory, with Tom Watson as deputy

Jeremy Corbyn is right to be anti-Trident says a reader and another correspondent agrees with his proposal for 'kinder politics'. See letters
Jeremy Corbyn is right to be anti-Trident says a reader and another correspondent agrees with his proposal for 'kinder politics'. See letters

Veteran left-winger Jeremy Corbyn today 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.

Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn arrives at the QEII Centre in London for a special conference to announce the result of the party's leadership contest.

Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn arrives at the QEII Centre in London for a special conference to announce the result of the party's leadership contest.

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

Tom Watson was elected deputy leader.

The West Bromwich East MP was the bookies’ overwhelming 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.

Labour leadership contenders, from left,  Jeremy Corbyn, Yvette Cooper, Liz Kendall and Andy Burnham.

Labour leadership contenders, from left, Jeremy Corbyn, Yvette Cooper, Liz Kendall and Andy Burnham.

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 minutes 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.