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Keir Starmer replaces Corbyn as UK’s Labour party leader

labour leader
LONDON: Britain’s main opposition Labour party on Saturday announced that Keir Starmer had been elected as its new leader, replacing Jeremy Corbyn who resigned after its crushing December election defeat.
The 57-year-old former chief state prosecutor defeated Corbyn loyalist Rebecca Long-Bailey and backbencher Lisa Nandy for the top job, while Angela Rayner becomes the new deputy leader.
The Labour party made the announcement on Twitter after it was forced to cancel a special conference because of the coronavirus outbreak.
Starmer, who was Labour’s Brexit spokesman, thanked supporters and his opponents in the three-month campaign that followed Corbyn’s election defeat to Boris Johnson’s Conservatives.
He called it “the honour and privilege” of his life and vowed to “engage constructively” with Johnson’s government particularly in the fight-back against COVID-19.
He also vowed to reunite the party after deep divisions caused by veteran socialist Corbyn’s extrem left ideals that clashed with advocates of a more centrist approach.
He addressed the issue of anti-Semitism that Corbyn was accused of failing to tackle, which tarnished the party’s reputation. “Anti-Semitism has been a stain on our party. I have seen the grief that it’s brought to so many Jewish communities,” Starmer said.

“On behalf of the Labour Party, I am sorry, he added. “And I will tear out this poison by its roots and judge success by the return of Jewish members and those who felt that they could no longer support us.”
Starmer, who won 56.2 percent of the vote of more than 500,000 Labour members, acknowledged the party had “a mountain to climb” after four straight general election defeats.
Corbyn spent a lifetime on the sidelines because of his left-wing views, and his election as leader in 2015, on the back of a huge surge in party membership, was a shock.
Starmer will have to win back voters who defected to the Conservatives if Labour has any hope of victory at the next election scheduled for 2024. Starmer opposed Brexit and played a key role in moving Labour to support a second referendum on leaving the European Union.
The coronavirus outbreak has brought a more immediate challenge. Johnson’s government has imposed curbs on public movement to try to stop the spread, measures backed by Labour, and offered sums to keep businesses and individuals afloat
Johnson’s popularity ratings have shot up in resposnse. A survey last week found that 55 percent of the public had a favourable opinion of him, up from 43 percent a week earlier. Some 72 percent thought the government was doing well including a majority of Labour voters.

 

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