Sir Keir Starmer wins Labour party leadership contest

Sir Keir Starmer the newly elected leader of the Labour Party. Picture: Kirsty O'Connor/PA Wire

Sir Keir Starmer the newly elected leader of the Labour Party. Picture: Kirsty O'Connor/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Sir Keir Starmer has won the leadership of the Labour Party by a landslide, taking 56pc of the votes cast.

The human rights lawyer beat rivals Rebecca Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy after the first round of counting.

It marks a significant change of direction for the party, with a move away from the politics of Jeremy Corbyn and Ed Miliband who led Labour over the last decade.

His victory came after the planned special conference to unveil the winner had to be shelved because of the coronavirus crisis.

Angela Rayner won the deputy leadership race by 52.6pc of the vote.

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Sir Keir, who was named after Labour’s first parliamentary leader Keir Hardie, said his election was the “honour and privilege of my life”.

In an acceptance speech posted on social media, he said his mission is to restore trust in Labour as “a force for good and a force for change”.

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He also apologised for anti-Semitism in the party which has brought “grief” to Jewish communities.

Sir Keir said his election “comes at a moment like none other in our lifetime” as the Covid-19 outbreak has “brought normal life to a halt” but brought communities together.

He said: “I can see this happening, people coming together to help the isolated and the vulnerable, checking on their neighbours.

“So many volunteering for the NHS, millions of people doing their bit to stop this virus and to save lives.”

Sir Keir - who was made Queen’s Counsel in 2002, served as head of the Crown Prosecution Service and accepted a knighthood in 2014 - has struggled to shake off perceptions of privilege.

But he has stressed his upbringing by his toolmaker father and nurse mother in Southwark, south London, when dismissing allegations he is too middle class to speak to the party’s historic heartlands.

His CV includes co-founding the renowned Doughty Street Chambers and advising the Policing Board to ensure the Police Service of Northern Ireland complied with human rights laws.

He entered Parliament as the MP for Holborn and St Pancras in 2015 and was quickly elevated to the frontbench, serving as a shadow Home Office minister before being promoted to shadow Brexit secretary soon after the EU referendum in 2016.

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