Wales politics

Jeremy Corbyn victory as Labour leader hailed by Jones

Jeremy Corbyn
Image caption Jeremy Corbyn addresses a special Labour event where he was declared leader

Jeremy Corbyn has been praised for his "impressive" win in the Labour leadership contest by the first minister.

Carwyn Jones said the left-winger had "energised a huge number of people who were previously disengaged from party politics".

He called on Labour to "come together, get organised and take on the Tories".

The first minister had previously said Mr Corbyn would be "an unusual choice" for leader.

Mr Corbyn was declared the winner of the contest to succeed Ed Miliband at a special Labour party event in London on Saturday with nearly 60% of first preference votes.

Tom Watson was elected to serve as his deputy.

Despite initially being seen as the rank outsider, Mr Corbyn saw a surge in support to beat his more mainstream rivals Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall.

Shadow work and pensions secretary Rachel Reeves and education spokesman Tristram Hunt have both said they will not serve on the new leader's front bench, while Ms Cooper said she did not expect to be asked.


However, Shadow Welsh Secretary Owen Smith said he was "a Labour man first and foremost" and would be willing to serve in Mr Corbyn's shadow cabinet.

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Media captionOwen Smith urged unity for the sake of the people Labour sought to represent

He described the leadership election as "an amazing moment", calling on Labour to unite and "capitalise" on the interest of more than 400,000 people who voted in the contest.

"We've got a phenomenon on our hands that we need to work with for the betterment of the people we seek to represent," he said.

'Get organised'

First Minister Carwyn Jones congratulated Mr Corbyn on his "impressive" win.

He added: "His campaign has energised a huge number of people who were previously disengaged from party politics and we must embrace that.

"We should also thank the other leadership candidates for a campaign well-fought. The challenge for the party now is to come together, get organised and take on the Tories.

"I look forward to meeting with Jeremy soon to discuss our campaign plans for the vital election in Wales next year."

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Image caption First Minister Carwyn Jones will defend Welsh Labour's record in the 2016 assembly election

During his victory speech, Mr Corbyn praised Mr Jones for his leadership in Wales.

He congratulated Welsh Labour for ending the internal market in the health service, saying it was "something we want to do in the rest of Britain".

'Roller coaster ride'

Other leading Welsh Labour figures called for unity behind their new leader.

Shadow Culture Secretary and Rhondda MP Chris Bryant told BBC News: "We're good at knocking lumps out of each other ... we need to knock lumps out of the Tories."

Cynon Valley MP Ann Clwyd tweeted: "Jeremy - brill! Human rights will be safe in your hands.

"Your tenacity and sincerity have inspired a new generation."

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Media captionJeremy Corbyn pays tribute to the record of Welsh Labour in his victory speech

Newport West MP Paul Flynn said on Twitter: "All the forecasts of doom by media and Labour's extinct volcanoes blown over by vast scale of victory from party members old and new.

"As a member of the select exclusive band of Liz Kendall supporters, I rejoice that we are all Corbyn-ites now," he added.

Baroness Eluned Morgan, a former Euro-MP who hopes to run for the assembly in 2016, tweeted: "A new chapter in the history of the Labour Party begins. It's going to be a roller coaster ride. Hold onto your hats!"

'Dismal record'

Opposition parties appeared scornful of Labour's prospects under their new leader.

Reacting for the Conservatives, Welsh Secretary Stephen Crabb said on Twitter: "Welsh Labour finally have a UK leader in its mould - [they] have banned Free Schools, Academies, Right to Buy.

"Wales already a test bed for Corbynism."

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood said Mr Corbyn's victory would do nothing to change "Labour's terrible record in government in Wales".

"Plaid Cymru congratulates Jeremy Corbyn on his election," she added.

"We hope that he will now deliver the votes of his MPs to join Plaid Cymru MPs in opposing those Tory policies that are causing great harm to people in Wales and beyond.

"However, his election cannot alter Labour's dismal record in government in Wales.

"Their legacy, especially since devolution, is one of failure and managed decline."

Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams said: "The reality is that Labour under Corbyn will become exactly the opposite of what this country needs right now: anti-Europe, anti-business and economically illiterate."

Analysis by Nick Servini, BBC Wales political editor

So how will Jeremy Corbyn's victory go down in the only part of the UK where there's a devolved Labour government?

A number of senior figures in Wales have been telling me privately how concerned they are about the implications for the assembly election in 2016.

Above all it will be a judgment of the record of Carwyn Jones's government, but the fear among many is that a Corbyn win will make it easier for opponents to challenge in marginal seats like the Vale of Glamorgan, the Vale of Clwyd and Cardiff North, where the Tories performed well in the general election but which are held by Labour in the assembly.

And will Welsh Labour MPs unite behind the new leader? The jury is still out.

One told me there is a tendency to catastrophise about a party that is surprisingly resilient while another told me how hard he would find it to be loyal to a man who has rebelled so often in the past.

And what about the new party members who joined up because of Corbyn? They have been as visible in Wales as elsewhere.

Their big hope is that the new leader drags the centre ground of British politics to where they believe it should be - to the left.

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