Britain's Corbyn urges unity after crushing rival in Labour contest

Jeremy Corbyn has successfully fought off a challenge to his leadership of Britain's Labour Party, after beating his sole rival Owen Smith in a party ballot.

Veteran left-winger Corbyn - the strong favourite - won over 60 per cent of the votes, garnering over 313,000 votes to Smith's 193,000, according to the Labour Party's official Twitter feed Saturday.

"In our party, we have much more in common than that which divides us," he said after the result was made public.

"Now is the time for all of us to focus every ounce of our energy on exposing and defeating the Tories," he said, referring to the governing Conservative Party.

Corbyn, 67, was forced to join a contest to remain in power after a revolt against his leadership by most of Labour's 220 lawmakers.

Smith congratulated his rival "on being elected decisively as our leader."

He and Corbyn fought an often bitter campaign over two months that many analysts expected to widen divisions in the centre-left party.

Corbyn saw most of his former shadow cabinet resign after he took the Labour helm, but he retains strong backing from trade unions.

During the election campaign, he rejected his critics' accusation that Labour was incapable of winning a parliamentary majority under his leadership.

Many Labour lawmakers also accused him of weak campaigning for Britain to remain in the European Union ahead of the Brexit referendum in June, won by the Leave camp.

Corbyn won the previous Labour leadership in September 2015 with almost 60 per cent of the 422,000 votes cast, beating three other candidates.

 

Last update: Sat, 24/09/2016 - 17:34
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