Advertising

WATCH: Black Country MP Tom Watson named deputy leader of Labour Party - while Wolverhampton MP Emma Reynolds resigns from shadow cabinet

Wolverhampton | News | Published:

Black Country MP Tom Watson has been chosen as the deputy leader of the Labour Party, as Jeremy Corbyn was unveiled as leader - but Wolverhampton MP Emma Reynolds has resigned from the shadow cabinet following the results.

Emma Reynolds, the Wolverhampton North East MP and who was Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, stepped down shortly after the Labour leadership announcements.

She tweeted: "Congratulations to @jeremyforlabour - he needs to space to build his own team. I will serve our party and my constituents from backbenches."

West Bromwich East MP Mr Watson was the clear favourite for deputy as soon as the contest began in May following Labour's general election defeat.

The 48-year-old, who grew up in Kidderminster, used a website to raise donations for his campaign and based it in an office in his constituency, above a Premier Inn hotel.

Father-of-two Mr Watson said he wanted to act as a unifying force in the party, which has endured bitter rifts in the long and drawn out four-month campaign to replace Ed Miliband as leader.

Mr Watson took 39.4% of votes - 160,852 first preferences out of the 408,470 ballots cast - in the first round of counting at the QEII centre in Westminster.

But he was elected over Ms Creasy with 50.7% of votes in the third round of counting after the second preferences of eliminated candidates Ben Bradshaw and Angela Eagle were redistributed under the alternative vote system. His victory came just moments before the announcement of Labour's new leader.

Advertising

Mr Watson said: "I promised to back the new leader 100 per cent and I plan to do exactly that.

"Only through unity comes strength, strength we need to fight the Tories.

"In the Tory second term Labour is the last line of defence for the millions of people who suffer in their homes.

"Only Labour can speak for the real Britain: we haven't always but that's what we have to do again - we can and we will, I promise."

Advertising

Mr Watson added: "There is only one Labour and it's bigger than leaders and deputy leaders, bigger than members and supporters.

"We articulate and embody the common sense compassion of the British people.

"The no nonsense belief that things should be fair - if you put in what you can you should get out what you need."

Elected to Parliament in 2001, 48-year-old Mr Watson - an ex-flatmate of union boss Len McCluskey - played a small part in toppling Tony Blair and served as minister for digital engagement under Gordon Brown.

He was given charge of the 2015 election campaign by Ed Miliband but quit as deputy chair at the height of the Falkirk candidate selection row in 2013.

Mr Watson gained wider public prominence when he turned his "attack dog" attentions from political opponents to the Murdoch media empire and helped expose the phone hacking scandal.

Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Meanwhile veteran left-winger Jeremy Corbyn has won the leadership of the Labour Party by a landslide, taking almost 60% of more than 400,000 votes cast.

Here is Jeremy Corbyn's speech after winning the Labour leadership contest:

"Can I start by thanking everyone who took part in this election, this huge democratic exercise of more than half a million people all across this country.

"It showed our party and our movement, passionate, democratic, diverse, united and absolutely determined in our quest for a decent and better society that is possible for all.

"There are many people I want to thank before I say a few words, if I may?

"First of all to Iain McNicol, the general secretary of the party and all of the party staff for their incredible hard work during this campaign, the general election campaign, and all the other campaigns that we do and will continue to do.

"Iain, thank you very much and please make sure all our staff are aware of the appreciation we all have for all of them - thank you.

"I want also to pay a huge thanks and tribute to Harriet Harman, who has been our acting leader and our deputy leader, and before that our acting leader.

"I have known Harriet for a very long time and what I would say of her is her absolute commitment and passion for decency, equality and the rights of women in our society is something that we will honour her for, thank her for and we have legislation brought about by her determination.

"Harriet, thank you so much for all you've done and the way in which you have led the party since the tragedy of the election results in May.

"I want also to thank and congratulate Tom Watson on his election as deputy leader of the party.

"Tom is passionate about communication, passionate about holding the state, and unaccountable people who don't wish to be accountable, to account.

"Tom is your man to do that."

In a result which marks a fundamental change of direction for the party, the Islington North MP defeated rivals Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall in the first round of counting, taking 251,417 (59.5%) of the 422,664 votes cast.

His victory was cheered loudly by supporters at the QEII conference centre in Westminster, who had greeted him to the event by singing the Red Flag.

After 32 years on Labour's backbenches, the 66-year-old won only a handful of votes from his fellow MPs but was swept to victory in the race to replace Ed Miliband by a surge of enthusiasm from members in the country as well as new "registered supporters" who paid £3 to secure a vote.

He now faces the massive challenge of forming a shadow cabinet which will deliver his anti-austerity, anti-war policies without splitting the party. Already senior figures including shadow chancellor Chris Leslie, shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt and Ms Kendall have said they will not serve under him.

Mr Corbyn must also prepare to face David Cameron in the House of Commons for his first Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday.

Corbyn supporters chanted "Jez we did" as he took to the stage, putting on his glasses to deliver his acceptance speech.

Mr Corbyn said the campaign "showed our party and our movement, passionate, democratic, diverse, united and absolutely determined in our quest for a decent and better society that is possible for all."

Mr Corbyn paid tribute to interim leader Harriet Harman, his predecessor Mr Miliband and his three leadership rivals, making a point of praising Ms Cooper for her intervention in the migrant crisis when she was the first major politician to demand that Britain takes in 10,000 Syrian refugees.

He announced he will attend a "Refugees Welcome Here" rally in London once the leadership conference is over.

He said: "My first act as leader of the party will be to go to the demonstration this afternoon to show support for the way refugees should be treated and must be treated in this country."

Thanking a long list of unions and socialist societies which endorsed him as leader, Mr Corbyn said the Labour Party is "organically linked together" with the unions, adding: "That's where we get our strength from."

He made clear that his first day in Parliament as leader will see him oppose the Government's efforts "to shackle unions in the Trade Union Bill which they are bringing forward on Monday".

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.

Advertising

Top Stories

Advertising

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News