Jarrow MP Stephen Hepburn has hailed Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour leadership win as a “great day for socialism” – and backed him to return the party to Government.
Mr Hepburn threw his support behind Andy Burnham for the party hotseat – due to his efforts to save Jarrow Walk-in Centre from closure – but says he is is “optimistic” about a Corbyn-led Labour.
Mr Hepburn said: “I backed Andy Burnham as he has supported our bid to save Jarrow Walk-in Centre and he deserved my loyalty. But I am very optimistic about the future.
“I think we will see a Labour party giving people hope and aspiration. There is no reason why we can’t start winning seats in the South of the country.
“Jeremy is going to rattle a few cages.
“I have served on committees with Jeremy, and I agree with his views on all sorts of things.
“He is very responsible.
“This is a great day for socialism .
“I have no doubts at all that we can win the next election.”
South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck was also in Andy Burnham’s corner – but is calling for unity withinn the party.
She said: “We need to come together and back Jeremy – and make sure we win the General Election in 2020.
“I backed Andy Burnham and am disappointed for him. I think he would’ve been able to win for us in 2020.
“But Jeremy has a huge mandate to lead with the votes he has received.
“He was very gracious in his victory speech.
“Everyone must remember that we all (Labour MPs) have the same membership card.
“We would be playing into the Tory’s hands if there is infighting and we are divided.
“We have to unite now behind Jeremy.”
Veteran left-winger Mr Corbyn was a 100-1 rank outsider when he squeezed onto contest ballot papers at the 11th hour.
He quickly gained momentum among grass-roots party members and was a hot favourite to succeed Ed Miliband, when the result of the party members vote was revealed at Westminster.
But he stormed to power after received 251,417 of the 422,664 votes cast – 59.5 per cent of the total.
The elections were held for the first time under a one-person one-vote system, introduced by Ed Miliband in 2014 as part of reforms designed to reduce union influence, which also dramatically limits MPs’ ability to determine the outcome.