South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck has urged fellow Labour politicians to unite behind new leader Jeremy Corbyn following his stunning election victory today.
Mrs Lewell-Buck had backed Andy Burnham for success in the leadership battle - but says Mr Corbyn has a ‘huge mandate’ to steer the party into the future after he secured a massive landslide win.
The veteran left-winger was a 100-1 rank outsider when he squeezed onto contest ballot papers at the 11th hour.
But 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.
Mr Corbyn 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.
Mr Corbyn has been criticised by party heavyweights such as former Prime Minister Tony Blair but Mrs Lewell-Buck says the time for divisions is over.
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.”