Sir Keir Starmer has won the contest to succeed Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader. 

The shadow Brexit secretary, who has been an MP since 2015, beat out competition from front bench colleague Rebecca Long-Bailey and Wigan MP Lisa Nandy.

Sir Keir, who is named after Labour Party founder Keir Hardie, was widely expected to win the three-month contest.

Having been seen as the early favourite, he built up unassailable levels of support among Labour MPs and local constituency parties before the ballot of members opened in February.

A planned special conference to unveil the winners of both contests was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The COVID-19 crisis – and scrutinising the government’s response – will be one of the big issues in Sir Keir’s early days as leader.

Another will be working to put Labour in position to win a general election once more, having last succeeded in this task 15 years ago.

Allies of Sir Keir said ahead of the announcement of the result that the scale of his anticipated victory would determine how far he is able to transform the party in his own image.

He is likely to announce his first shadow cabinet appointments on Sunday, with his choice of shadow chancellor seen as a strong indicator of the path he intends to forge.

This will be watched keenly by those within Labour, at Westminster and in the country at large.

Sir Keir has already said he intends to stick to many of Mr Corbyn’s flagship policies, like abolishing tuition fees and nationalising key industries.

Mr Corbyn opted to stand down after five years as leader after December’s general election.

A disastrous night for Labour saw the party register its worst performance at the ballot box since the 1930s.

Boris Johnson’s landslide victory was a far cry from two years prior, when Mr Corbyn defied expectations and ensured Theresa May lost the Tories’ parliamentary majority.

That proved to be the high point of his time as leader of the opposition, with Mr Corbyn serenaded with a rendition of Oh Jeremy Corbyn at Glastonbury.

He even reportedly declared to the festival’s founder that he would be in Downing Street by that Christmas.

In a message on his Facebook page, Mr Corbyn declared that he would not be quiet now that he is returning to the backbenches.

I can assure you my voice will not be stilled, he said.

I’ll be out there campaigning for socialism, peace and justice, and I feel sure we’ll be doing that together.

More follows…

http://ooyala.news.sky.com/EwYm9jajE6FoGBf7NnJWIC2uJ6P0bu4a/DOcJ-FxaFrRg4gtDEwOjM3NjowODE7Tz
(c) Sky News 2020: Labour leadership: Sir Keir Starmer wins contest to succeed Jeremy Corbyn