Union favourite sweeps to power with 60% of the vote

Tim Lezard Europe, UK, CWU, FBU, PCS, RMT, Unite,
Jeremy Corbyn (left) at a rally in Islington, August 2015. Pic Jason Harris

Jeremy Corbyn (left) at a rally in Islington, August 2015. Pic Jason Harris

Unions have welcomed the result of yesterday’s landslide Labour leadership election.

Jeremy Corbyn, who was backed by many unions, swept to victory with 60% of votes. He will name his shadow cabinet today. Tom Watson won the ballot for deputy leader.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “We warmly congratulate Jeremy Corbyn and Tom Watson on their respective victories. We look forward to working with them, with the unsuccessful candidates, and with the whole Labour party to try and win a better deal for people at work.

“Now the Labour party has elected its new leadership team, it’s time for it to get on with the job of opposition – starting tomorrow, with the second reading of the government’s Trade Union Bill, which threatens the right to strike.”

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “I congratulate Jeremy Corbyn and Tom Watson on their victories. Unite members were among those who took part in their thousands, enthused by the chance to engage in a genuine debate about what and who Labour stands for, and the sort of nation we want modern Britain to be.

“The Corbyn team deserves particular credit for inspiring young and old alike, for pointing the way towards how Labour can transform itself to once again be the people’s party.

“Voters can now look at Labour and see, unquestionably, that it stands for fairness, justice, peace and strong communities. It is the party of hope, ready to take on a government hell-bent on making life worse for ordinary people.

“The task now for all of us who support Labour is to back the leadership team, to unite, to turn to face the Tories and hold them to account.  It is what the voters expect, it is the way back to power and it is the duty of those at all levels of the party to deliver.”

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “This is an absolutely stunning and well deserved victory, crowning an incredible summer that has shaken the cosy consensus that has infected our politics.

“Jeremy’s campaign has been an inspiration to tens of thousands of people up and down the country, and given us new hope for a genuine opposition to the Tories.

“We congratulate Jeremy and his team. We look forward to working with them to build the social movement we need to fight for the alternative to austerity and restore people’s faith in the power of politics to change lives for the better.”

FBU general secretary Matt Wrack said: “Jeremy Corbyn has been a long standing friend and ally of firefighters and we were proud to support his campaign from the start and without hesitation.

“The election of Jeremy Corbyn is a welcome and remarkable turnaround in British politics. It has been based on a groundswell of opposition to ever growing inequality, to the destruction of our public services and to the austerity policies which serve the interests of the rich and big business at the expense of the majority.

“All those involved in this remarkable campaign will need to unite to build a mass movement to challenge the Tory attacks here and now as well as to build a new politics based on democracy and on the interests of the majority. Trade unions should be central to that debate.”

CWU general secretary Dave Ward said: “The result is an overwhelming endorsement of Jeremy and an overwhelming rejection of austerity. Labour supporters and trade unionists want to see the party being true to its values and standing up for working people – this is what they’ve voted for.‎

“As a country we face a growing housing crisis, entrenched inequality and ‎increasing numbers of people in low paying insecure forms of employment. The government has no answer to this and has nothing to say to the people and communities being left behind. Jeremy won the election because he recognised the urgency of these issues and that we can’t simply leave it to the market and keep cutting back the state if we’re going to solve them.

“At the start of the contest no-one was relishing the prospect of a leadership election. By the end of it Jeremy was addressing crowds of people out in the street because they couldn’t all fit into his meetings. If Labour is to win again it needs to become a mass movement and Jeremy’s campaign has shown the way to do this.”

GMB general secretary Paul Kenny said: “I would like to congratulate the new leader and deputy leader on their election. This is an historic moment in British politics. There is now a clear division between the parties. No longer will anyone be able to say that they are all the same.

“Jeremy has a massive job to do. It is one thing to win votes in a leadership election. It will be a much bigger job to win back the support of the millions who stopped voting Labour.

“Jeremy will concentrate on issues and not personalities. People should wait and see and judge Jeremy on what he does. The composition of the shadow cabinet will be an interesting test.

“It was New Labour that pushed for registered supporters to dilute the influence of the votes of union members. They have been successful in reducing the participation of union members but on the registered supporters it may be “careful what you wish for.

“There will be plenty of room for people with alternative views and arguments in the Labour Party but at the end of the day the sniping has to stop. Those who cannot accept the democratically elected leader of the party should ‘ave it on their toes’ now.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “The election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader is hugely significant for RMT members and the wider trade union movement and means that the issues that are impacting on workplaces and communities the length and breadth of the country will now be pushed right to the top of the political agenda.

“RMT’s AGM voted to back Jeremy and his election is a massive shot in the arm for everyone fighting austerity, anti-union laws and for a return of our privatised services to public ownership.”

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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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