Black Country Labour figures hail the end of the Corbyn era
Sir Keir Starmer has been urged to "root out the extremists" as Labour figures past and present hailed the end of the Corbyn era.
The 57-year-old's comfortable victory in the Labour leadership election has been welcomed across the Black Country, with MPs hopeful he can transform the party into an electoral force after five years in the doldrums.
In his victory speech, Holborn and St Pancras MP Sir Keir said he will tear out the "poison" of anti-Semitism "by its roots" as he apologised to Jews and vowed to lead Labour into a new era.
Former Dudley North MP Ian Austin, who quit the party over Jeremy Corbyn's leadership, said the new leader had a huge task on his hands.
He said: "It is good that Keir Starmer started with an apology, but it will take years, not months, and determined action to root out the extremists, deal with the anti-Semitism that has poisoned the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn and to restore its reputation as a decent, mainstream party that shares the values of the British public."
Wolverhampton South East MP Pat McFadden said Sir Keir needed to repair the damage that Mr Corbyn had done to the party.
"The emotion I feel more than any other is huge relief that the Corbyn era is over for Labour," he said.
"So much damage has been done to Labour’s standing in recent years and it ended with our worst election result since 1935, but Keir Starmer’s election gives us the chance of a new beginning.
"His mandate gives him the freedom to begin the hard work necessary to make Labour a credible and progressive force once again.
"It’s an enormous task but with courage and clarity about where we need to get to, it can be done."
Warley MP John Spellar said he was pleased that the Labour Party had "recognised the strength of public opinion" in shifting away from the hard-left.
He added: "I look forward to the party going forward as en effective opposition, but more importantly, as a credible option for government."
Former Labour deputy leader and West Bromwich East MP Tom Watson has also had his say. He described Sir Keir as having "great integrity" and added: "He possesses deep reserves of patience and a first class mind.
"Above all these qualities, he has a vision of a fairer more equal society." Mr Watson also paid tribute to Mr Corbyn, saying: "Though in the fickle world of politics this is already unfashionable to say, but my best wishes go to Jeremy Corbyn. Glastonbury will never be the same again."
Walsall South MP Valerie Vaz, the Shadow Leader of the House, said Sir Keir's victory was good news for people across the region.
"I am delighted my outstanding shadow cabinet colleague Keir Starmer is now Leader of the Labour Party," she said.
"Keir has the broad experience, the common sense, the intellect and the heart to be our Prime Minster.
"This is a tremendous boost for the West Midlands and our country."
Meanwhile Labour Party’s ruling National Executive Committee by-elections have also been seen as a victory for the moderates, with Johanna Baxter and Gurinder Singh Josan chosen to replace Corbynites Navendu Mishra and Claudia Webbe as local party representatives.
Mr Singh Josan, a former Sandwell councillor who sits on the Police and Crime Commissioner's strategic crime board, said: "Now for change and for putting members first, tackling anti-Semitism and a broad-church Labour Party."