Jeremy Corbyn has promised to lead a Labour “fight back” after being elected the party’s new leader by a landslide.
The veteran left winger got almost 60 percent of more than 400,000 votes cast, trouncing his rivals Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall.
He immediately faced an exodus of shadow cabinet members – but senior figures including Ed Miliband urged the party’s MPs to get behind him.
Corbyn was a 200-1 outsider when the three month contest began, but he was swept to victory on a wave of enthusiasm for his anti-austerity message and promise to scrap Britain’s nuclear weapons and renationalise the railways and major utilities.
He will now select his shadow cabinet – but without a string of existing members including Ms Cooper, Tristram Hunt and Rachel Reeves – who have all ruled themselves out.
He has also hinted that he wants to change the format of Prime Minister’s Questions – he faces David Cameron across the despatch box for the first time on Wednesday – suggesting other Labour MPs might get a turn.
The Islington North MP won on the first round of voting in the leadership contest, taking 251,417 of the 422,664 votes cast – against 19 percent for Burnham, 17 percent for Ms Cooper and 4.5 percent for Ms Kendall.
Former minister and Gordon Brown ally Tom Watson was elected deputy leader.
The leftwinger, who has spent his entire 32 year career in the Commons on the back benches, promised to fight for a more tolerant and inclusive Britain – and to tackle “grotesque levels of inequality in our society”.
He said the leadership 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”.
“They are fed up with the inequality, the injustice, the unnecessary poverty. All those issues have brought people in, in a spirit of hope and optimism.”
He said his campaign had given the lie to claims that young Britons were apathetic about politics, showing instead that they were “a very political generation that were turned off by the way in which politics was being conducted – we have to, and must, change that”. Corbyn added: “The fightback now of our party gathers speed and gathers pace.”
His first act as leader was to attend a “Refugees Welcome Here” rally, joining tens of thousands of people marching through central London in support of the rights of refugees.
Corbyn told supporters his first day at the helm of his party in Parliament would be spent opposing government plans to “shackle” trade unions by imposing higher thresholds for strike ballots.