Labour Party members in Hastings have welcomed the election of Jeremy Corbyn as their new leader.
The veteran left-winger got almost 60 per cent of more than 400,000 votes cast, trouncing leadership rivals Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall on Saturday (September 12).
Hastings Borough Council leader Peter Chowney was pleased with the result after voting for Mr Corbyn although he wasn’t confident right from the start.
“I initially thought my heart was with him but I didn’t think he had a chance of winning,” he said.
“But when I first heard all his ideas and as the campaign went on, I was convinced he was the right person to do it.”
Mr Corbyn was a 200-1 outsider at the beginning of the race to become leader of the opposition three months ago.
But his promises on anti-austerity, re-nationalising the railways and major utilities plus scrapping nuclear weapons garnered a mass following and took him to victory.
The number of Labour members rose dramatically in the run-up to the election, partly thanks to the Islington North MP’s wave of support.
This was felt in Hastings as party membership doubled in Mr Chowney’s ward, with the biggest growth amongst the young of the town. The council leader is hopeful new members will translate to more campaigners and votes in next year’s local elections.
James Bacon from Hastings and Rye Young Labour said: “This is definitely an exciting time in the history of the Labour Party.
“Regardless of who we voted for in the leadership contest, Jeremy Corbyn has won a clear mandate to unite all sections of our great movement and take the fight to the Tories.”
Mr Bacon believes the party’s youth have become a major part of discussion after Mr Corbyn’s triumph and hoped he could guide the party to success in the next general election.
“The political discourse amongst party members is evolving, democracy within the party is flourishing and young people are becoming more engaged with wanting to make a difference in their society,” he said.
“This can only be seen as a good thing. We must use this opportunity to reform as a party of government and reach out to those who have been disaffected by the Westminster elite who have been at the forefront of British politics for too long.
“This country desperately needs a government who will provide fair and equal opportunities for all, but also be guided by the principles of decency. Jeremy will provide this and I will be supporting him over the coming years on this journey.”
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