Jeremy Corbyn Re-Elected Leader of Britain’s Labour Party
LONDON – Jeremy Corbyn has stormed to victory as head of Britain’s official opposition in the Labour Party leadership contest despite despair among his M.P.s over his policies and poor poll ratings.
Corbyn won nearly 62% of votes among Labour members, increasing his mandate from a year ago, when he swept to victory with only 59.5%, challenger Owen Smith got 38% of the votes.
Smith’s challenge came after a swathe of M.P.s quit Corbyn’s shadow cabinet in June after the country voted to leave the European Union, Time Magazine Reported.
The vote has left a Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) that is largely at odds with its own membership. M.P.s who have criticized 67-year-old Corbyn must now decide whether they are willing to serve in his top team after the mass of resignations in the summer left him unable to fill his frontbench.
Owen Smith, who was Corbyn’s work and pensions spokesman, has already said he will not accept any offers to return to the shadow cabinet.
Corbyn’s fiercest critics are also working out the best tactics to oust him following a botched coup that has only increased his support.
Corbyn’s supporters point to his record-breaking mandate and unprecedented personal support, which has seen Labour grow into Western Europe’s biggest political party with more than 600,000 members.
The success of Corbyn, with his disheveled and disarmingly honest style, is a reflection of the anti-establishment sentiment that has swept the Western world, most notably in the United States with Bernie Sanders’ energetic tilt for the Democratic nomination for President and Donald Trump’s successful bid for the Republican nomination.
Many Labour Party members and sitting MP’s fear the Labour Party could split if Corbyn remains at the helm, a new poll shows that just 16% of voters think Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party are capable of winning the next general election, the Business Insider reports.
This is far from the first poll to have put Corbyn in such a disadvantaged position. Earlier in the month, another survey put Theresa May 71 points ahead of the Labour leader.
Nevertheless, these new figures will serve as a sobering reminder to Labour that the wounds opened by a fractured leadership need to be healed following Corbyn’s reelection if the party wants to stand a chance of winning the next general election.
Despite unwavering levels of unpopularity with the general public, his position is bolstered by a loyal following of party members, many of whom paid £25 to vote for him.
Speaking after his reelection, Corbyn said: “I will do everything I can to repay trust and the support, to bring our party together.
“We have much more in common than that which divides us. Let’s wipe that slate clean from today and get on with the work that we’ve got to do as a party.”
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