Local Corbyn supporters call for unity after landslide victory

Labour members celebrate Corbyn's victory at the Rosebery

Labour members celebrate Corbyn's victory at the Rosebery - Credit: Archant

Jubliant Corbyn supporters and Momentum members celebrated the long-expected victory over challenger Owen Smith at a Norwich pub and called for unity behind the leader.

George Deacon

George Deacon - Credit: Archant

The leadership election increased the mandate which he first won a year ago.

Mr Corbyn saw off challenger Owen Smith with 61.8pc of more than half a million votes cast in the contest.

His tally of 313,209 votes was more than 60,000 higher than the 251,417 he secured in 2015.

Mr Smith took 193,229 votes - 38.2% of the 506,438 votes cast out of a total electorate of 654,006.

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Local Momentum members said MPs should now rally behind the membership, and Corbyn himself.

George Deacon, chair of Momentum Norfolk, said: 'Most people are not happy about re-running a leadership election Jeremy won overwhelmingly last year. 'Combined with that he has not been given the time to steady the ship, and I had no doubt people were not going to fall for this concerted attempt to de-stabilise the Labour party. 'His message is clear, and people want an alternative to the politics of the last 20 or 30 years. This contest has allowed the Tories to avoid facing a consistent opposition in line with the mandate Jeremy has. The Tories themselves have been divided and this whole period has been very damaging as they are not being held to scrutiny. I am convinced if we are allowed to get a clear run at the Tories with Jeremy's message we will see real change.'

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With talk of deselection in various constituencies, Mr Deacon said MPs now need to decide if they can support Corbyn.

'The MPs have got to look at the mandate and look at what the membership want,' he said. 'The relationship between the members and the MPs has been ignored. We have to get behind the leader otherwise it makes a nonsense of the leadership contest. That is just about good democracy in the party.

'MPs are not appointed, they are elected by members, and if they feel they are not going in the same direction as the members there is a decision they can make themselves. We can find other people if that becomes the question.'

John McDermott, 57, rejoined Labour 18 months ago after quitting in the wake of the Iraq War.

'Brexit showed the British electorate are not predictable and want a break from the status-quo,' he said. 'My hope is the party can start arguing Labour has always been there to defend the poor and the disadvantaged. We have to stop talking about splits and matters of policy where there is no difference.

'Corbyn can only come out of this stronger. What this has helped is to focus the team around Corbyn and what we stand for. The lesson from Scotland is we are not entitled to represent people. We need to earn that.'

Sue Brisbane, 57, added Labour will be relying on the grass roots support which swept Corbyn to victory in order to win the next general election.

'There is going to be a style difference now, because a lot of MPs have been nurtured through the bureaucratic engine Blair created,' she said. 'The idea is to motivate people through the grass roots in a very organised way. 'He has started uniting the party in his speech today by holding out an olive branch and reminding us we are all part of the same family. There are disagreements but we are together above all else. He clearly wants people to stay, and I think it is their decision whether they can support him.'

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