Keir Starmer becomes new Labour Party leader

Sir Keir Starmer has been voted the new leader of the Labour Party.

Saturday, 4th April 2020, 10:54 am
Updated Saturday, 4th April 2020, 12:04 pm

The Shadow Cabinet Minister won the contest in the first round of voting taking 56% of the votes cast and fighting off competition from Wigan MP Lisa Nandy and Salford MP Rebecca Long-Bailey to replace Jeremy Corbyn.

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Lisa Nandy congratulates rival Keir Starmer on his Labour leadership victory

Angela Rayner won the deputy leadership race. After winning the contest, she tweeted: "Thank you to everyone from the bottom of my heart, I promise I will do everything to repay your trust!

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"I know we face a long and difficult road ahead but it's our responsibility to offer the better future that the citizens of our country deserve"

Retail trade union and Labour’s third largest affiliate Usdaw has congratulated the winners of the Labour leadership contest. Usdaw nominated Keir Starmer for leader and Angela Rayner for deputy leader of the Labour Party.

Paddy Lillis - Usdaw General Secretary said: “We are delighted that our nominees Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner have secured the confidence of party members and supporters. We backed Keir and Angela because they are the right leadership team to unite and rebuild Labour after a devastating election loss and, most importantly, secure the confidence of the country. Our members desperately need Labour in power, they cannot afford another decade of Conservative governments attacking workers’ rights, incomes and public services.

“We have every confidence that Keir will be a leader who can persuade voters that he has what it takes to be Prime Minister and Labour is a government in waiting. At this time of crisis we know he will be responsible and collaborative as Leader of the Opposition, but also offer constructive criticism to the Government on behalf of working people who are struggling through the Coronavirus emergency.

Sir Keir Starmer

“Whether you’re an essential worker on the frontline, like so many of our members in the food supply chain, or worried because you’re forced to carry on regardless in a non-essential business, or wondering how you’re going to make ends meet because your workplace has closed down, we know Keir Starmer will be standing up for your interests, your family and your community.”

Who is the new Labour leader Keir Starmer?

Sir Keir Starmer was named after a founder of the party he has now been elected to lead.

The human rights lawyer, who says he has spent his life fighting injustice, was raised in Southwark, south London, by toolmaker father Rodney and nurse mother Josephine.

Wigan MP Lisa Nandy was one of the candidates for the leadership

Labour supporters, they named him after Keir Hardie, the party's first parliamentary leader.

But his decision to accept a knighthood in 2014 made it trickier for Sir Keir to shake off perceptions of privilege - and allegations he is too middle class to speak to Labour's heartlands.

He studied at Reigate Grammar School and read law at Leeds and then Oxford before embarking on a legal career which saw him rise to be head of the Crown Prosecution Service.

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, speaking about the importance of equal rights for all in his maiden speech.

Sir Keir, 57, 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.

Despite clear divisions within the upper echelons of the party over the UK's exit, he remained in post for three and a half tumultuous years, shadowing three different secretaries of state as the negotiations tore holes into the Tories.

Sir Keir was instrumental in getting Labour to back a second referendum and said, at the party's conference in 2018, that "nobody is ruling out" an option for Remain being included on the ballot paper.

He has since said that the issue is settled, but has refused to rule out campaigning for Britain to return to the EU in the long term.

During the leadership race he pledged to raise income tax for the top 5% of earners, to campaign for EU freedom of movement to continue and to push for "common ownership" of public services such as mail, rail and energy.

He has also vowed to introduce a Prevention of Military Intervention Act if he becomes PM, to ensure Britain could only go to war if the Commons agreed.

Sir Keir lost his mother-in-law during the leadership race, but despite the personal challenges, his campaign retained momentum throughout.

He is married to Victoria, a solicitor, and the couple have two children.

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