Sir Keir Starmer wins Labour leadership contest

Sir Keir Starmer has won the leadership of the Labour Party by a landslide, taking 56% of the votes cast.

The human rights lawyer beat rivals Rebecca Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy after the first round of counting.

It marks a significant change of direction for the party, with a move away from the politics of Jeremy Corbyn and Ed Miliband who led Labour over the last decade.

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Keir Starmer's rise to Labour leader
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Keir Starmer's rise to Labour leader
Sir Keir Starmer wins Labour leadership contest
DUDLEY, ENGLAND - MARCH 08: L-R) Sir Keir Starmer, Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, addresses the audience during the last Labour Party Leadership hustings at Dudley Town Hall on March 08, 2020 in Dudley, England. Sir Keir Starmer, Rebecca Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy are vying to replace Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who is stepping down following his party's loss in the December 2019 general election. The new leader and deputy will be announced on 4 April, 2020. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
NEWPORT, UNITED KINGDOM - FEBRUARY 19: Sir Keir Starmer poses for a portrait during a Labour leadership rally at the Neon on February 19, 2020 in Newport, Wales. Sir Keir Starmer, Rebecca Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy are vying to replace Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who offered to step down following his party's loss in the December 2019 general election. (Photo by Matthew Horwood/Getty Images
Keir Starmer wins Labour leadership election
Britain's opposition Labour Party Shadow Brexit Secretary Starmer leaves BBC HQ in London
With Keir Starmer in charge of Labour, the Tories can be held to account again
FILE PHOTO: Britain's opposition Labour Party Shadow Brexit Secretary Starmer speaks in London
Who is Sir Keir Starmer? Meet the new Labour leader
Britain's opposition Labour Party Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer speaks to members of the media as he leaves the BBC headquarters after appearing on The Andrew Marr Show in London, Britain January 5, 2020. REUTERS/Simon Dawson
Britain's opposition Labour Party Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer speaks to members of the media as he leaves the BBC headquarters after appearing on The Andrew Marr Show in London, Britain January 5, 2020. REUTERS/Simon Dawson
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn and Labour Party's Shadow Secretary of State for Departing the European Union Keir Starmer leave after a meeting with European Union's Chief Brexit Negotiator Michel Barnier in Brussels, Belgium March 21, 2019. REUTERS/Yves Herman
File photo dated 05/02/10 of Keir Starmer QC, the Director of public prosecution, at the CPS headquarters in London, making a statement about MP's who face charges over their expenses claims. Sir Keir Starmer has been elected as the next leader of the Labour Party, beating rivals Rebecca Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy after the first round of voting.
File photo dated 05/09/06 of human rights advisors Keir Starmer (left) and Jane Gordon, with the Northern Ireland Policing Board annual human rights report 2006, at the Dunadry Hotel in Co Antrim. Sir Keir Starmer has been elected as the next leader of the Labour Party, beating rivals Rebecca Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy after the first round of voting.
File photo dated 25/09/07 of human rights lawyers Keir Starmer QC and Jane Gordon at the Belfast launch of a major report monitoring the Police Service of Northern Ireland's compliance with the Human Rights Act. Sir Keir Starmer has been elected as the next leader of the Labour Party, beating rivals Rebecca Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy after the first round of voting.
File photo dated 23/09/08 of Keir Starmer QC, the director of public prosecutions, at the publishing of his final guidelines on prosecutions for assisted suicide at the CPS headquarters at Ludgate Hill in London. Sir Keir Starmer has been elected as the next leader of the Labour Party, beating rivals Rebecca Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy after the first round of voting.
File photo dated 29/04/19 of shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer (left) and shadow chancellor John McDonnell leaving the Cabinet Office in Westminster, London. Sir Keir Starmer has been elected as the next leader of the Labour Party, beating rivals Rebecca Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy after the first round of voting.
Labour leadership candidates (left to right) Sir Keir Starmer, Rebecca Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy during the Labour leadership hustings event hosted by the Co-operative Party, at the Business Design Centre, London.
File photo dated 15/02/20 (left to right) Labour leadership candidates Rebecca Long-Bailey, Lisa Nandy and Sir Keir Starmer after a Labour leadership hustings.
Labour leadership candidate Sir Keir Starmer meets patient Chris Evans (left) and his wife Jeanne Wilby during a visit to Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge, Cambridgeshire.
Keir Starmer during the Labour leadership hustings at the ACC Liverpool. Picture date: Saturday January 18, 2020. Photo credit should read: Isabel Infantes / EMPICS Entertainment.
DUDLEY, ENGLAND - MARCH 08: L-R) Sir Keir Starmer, Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, addresses the audience during the last Labour Party Leadership hustings at Dudley Town Hall on March 08, 2020 in Dudley, England. Sir Keir Starmer, Rebecca Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy are vying to replace Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who is stepping down following his party's loss in the December 2019 general election. The new leader and deputy will be announced on 4 April, 2020. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
DUDLEY, ENGLAND - MARCH 08: Sir Keir Starmer, Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, takes part in the last Labour Party Leadership hustings at Dudley Town Hall on March 08, 2020 in Dudley, England. Sir Keir Starmer, Rebecca Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy are vying to replace Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who is stepping down following his party's loss in the December 2019 general election. The new leader and deputy will be announced on 4 April, 2020. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
DUDLEY, ENGLAND - MARCH 08: Lisa Nandy, MP for Wigan reacts as she takes part in the last Labour Party Leadership hustings at Dudley Town Hall on March 08, 2020 in Dudley, England. Sir Keir Starmer, Rebecca Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy are vying to replace Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who is stepping down following his party's loss in the December 2019 general election. The new leader and deputy will be announced on 4 April, 2020. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
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His victory came after the planned special conference to unveil the winner had to be shelved because of the coronavirus crisis.

Angela Rayner won the deputy leadership race by 52.6% of the vote.

Sir Keir, who was named after Labour's first parliamentary leader Keir Hardie, said his election was the "honour and privilege of my life".

In an acceptance speech posted on social media, he said his mission is to restore trust in Labour as "a force for good and a force for change".

He also apologised for anti-Semitism in the party which has brought "grief" to Jewish communities.

Sir Keir – who was made Queen's Counsel in 2002, served as head of the Crown Prosecution Service and accepted a knighthood in 2014 – has struggled to shake off perceptions of privilege.

But he has stressed his upbringing by his toolmaker father and nurse mother in Southwark, south London, when dismissing allegations he is too middle class to speak to the party's historic heartlands.

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 and 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.

Sir Keir was instrumental in getting Labour to back a second referendum. 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.

The contest was triggered in December when Jeremy Corbyn announced that he would quit as Labour leader after the party suffered its worst general election defeat since 1935.

He presided over years of faction fighting, accusations of institutional anti-Semitism and bitter divisions over Brexit.

Ballot papers were sent out in late February to party members, members of affiliated trades unions and groups, and 14,700 "registered supporters" who paid £25 to take part on a one-off basis. Voting closed on Thursday.

Sir Keir led the race from the start, winning the backing of 89 members of the parliamentary party in the first round of the contest, before securing the support of more than a dozen affiliated organisations in the second stage.

Veteran left-winger Mr Corbyn became party leader in 2015, a result which marked a fundamental change of direction for Labour.

He led the party through two general election defeats, the last of which saw seats which had been Labour for generations turned blue as the party's hitherto impregnable "red wall" crumbled in the face of the Tory advance.

Sir Keir will have to find a way to rebuild Labour support in its traditional heartlands, but his first major challenge will be to establish a clear voice on the coronavirus crisis.

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