Jeremy Corbyn supporters erupted in cheers at the news he had been re-elected as leader of the Labour Party with an increased mandate today, Saturday.
At least 700 of his supporters flocked to the Corbyn-supporters’ event The World Transformed in Liverpool to watch the leadership result announced on a large screen.
The atmosphere was already buzzing ahead of the result as supporters watched the BBC’s live coverage. There were cheers whenever a Corbyn supporter was interviewed—and laughter when an Owen Smith supporter said he thought Smith was still in with a chance.
People were already celebrating before the result was officially released—but the room exploded at the news that Corbyn had increased his share of the vote from 59.5 percent of the vote in 2015 to 62 percent this time.
Speaking after the result, Corbyn supporter Debbie told Socialist Worker she felt “Really really happy”. She explained she never usually took an interest in politics. But she was inspired by Corbyn because he “speaks to how people actually feel”.
Labour member Julie said, “I feel wonderful. If Corbyn hadn’t won today I would never ever have voted Labour again.”
But another supporter, Fathi Sadiq, said he was “disappointed that the vote wasn’t even bigger.
“They excluded so many of Corbyn’s supporters. If they had been allowed to vote it would have shown the true support for Corbyn.”
Corbyn used his victory speech to, “thank the more than 300,000 supporters who have given me their trust.
“They have given me the second mandate in a year to lead our party.”
He called on the Labour Party to reunite after the leadership election, telling the Labour conference, “We’re part of the same Labour family and that’s how it’s always going to be.”
He added, “We have more in common than that which divides us. Let’s wipe the slate clean from today and get on with the work we have got to do.”
Many of Corbyn’s supporters also called on those Labour MPs who had tried to force him out to come back behind him.
One supporter told Socialist Worker that the result was “a message that Labour MPs have to listen to the members.”
If Corbyn hadn’t won today I would never ever have voted Labour again
Another, Owen, said, “Corbyn has offered peace to the MPs that took part in the attempt to get rid of him. I think they should take that, because we really need to start winning back public support again.
He added, “If MPs are saying they’re not going to accept the democratically elected leader of the Labour Party, then I don’t think they have anything relevant to say to the party.
“I don’t think there should be mandatory reselections for all Labour MPs—but I do think there should be that option for members in their constituencies.”
The fight between the left and right inside the Labour Party looked set to continue at Labour conference in Liverpool this week, with wrangling over party rules.
But Corbyn also said Labour needed to turn outwards to take on the Tories. He said, "This time next week we are all going to hit the streets united as a party. I am calling on Labour Party members all over the country to join us in a national campaign for inclusive education for all next Saturday". This call for action against grammar schools is a very welcome step in the right direction.
And he said Labour’s hugely increased membership could “take our message to every part of the country to win support for the election of a Labour government”.
Corbyn supporters echoed that message. Owen said Corbyn’s supporters needed to “go out and spread the message—out campaigning on the streets and the estates.”
The leadership campaign has galvanised Corbyn supporters—and shown there is still huge support for his left wing ideas. That energy and enthusiasm has to be channelled into real resistance to beat the Tories and to fight for a system where people come before profit.