Starmer Wins Labour Leadership Election

Corbyn’s favorite places a distant second.

Keir Starmer Jeremy Corbyn Rebecca Long-Bailey
British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn chairs a meeting in London flanked by Keir Starmer and Rebecca Long-Bailey, April 3, 2019 (PA/Stefan Rousseau)
  • Keir Starmer has been elected leader of the British Labour Party with 56 percent support.
  • Rebecca Long-Bailey, who represented continuity from outgoing leader Jeremy Corbyn, placed second with 28 percent.
  • Lisa Nandy placed third with 16 percent.
  • Over 490,000 out of 784,151 eligible Labour Party members and supporters voted in the contest.
  • Corbyn stepped down after losing last year’s election to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservatives by a margin of 11.5 points.

Overwhelming victory

Starmer’s victory was overwhelming.

  • He won on the first ballot, avoiding the need for a runoff.
  • He won majority support from both longtime party members and the 13,000 supporters who paid a £25 fee to vote.
  • He had been nominated by a plurality of his parliamentary colleagues: 82 against 33 for Long-Bailey.
  • He had been endorsed by an outright majority of constituency parties: 374 against 164 for Long-Bailey.
  • He had been endorsed by most and the largest affiliated trade unions and socialist societies, including Unison, Labour Business and the Labour Movement for Europe.

This will hopefully avoid a narrative that the party leadership was somehow snatched from the far left by an “establishment” plot.

Turning the page

Starmer describes himself as a socialist but not a Corbynite. He has voted to keep some of Corbyn’s policies, including nationalizing rail and water and making it easier for unions to strike, while turning the page on the former leader’s inattention to antisemitism.

Corbyn’s Palestinian sympathies and criticism of Israel encouraged anti-Jewish bigotry, which he initially dismissed as the invention on his opponents. Corbyn eventually recognized the problem but did little about it, culminating in an unprecedented appeal from Britain’s chief rabbi to not vote for Labour.

Voters were also turned off by a litany of far-left policies and doubted Labour had a plan to pay for it. The party fell to its lowest number of seats since 1935.


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