Jeremy Corbyn elected head of UK opposition party

Left-winger Jeremy Corbyn elected as new leader of UK's opposition Labour Party

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

The new leader of Britain's opposition Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn makes his inaugural speech at the Queen Elizabeth Centre in central London, September 12, 2015.

Avowed socialist and Karl Marx admirer Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader of Britain's opposition Labour party on Saturday, a result that may make a British EU exit more likely and which senior figures have said would leave their party unelectable.

The grey-hair, bearded Corbyn (66) who only received backing to enter the contest to ensure wide debate and never expected to win, defeated two former Labour ministers, Yvette Cooper and Andy Burnham, and Liz Kendall, regarded as the representative of policies advocated by former prime minister Tony Blair.

Corbyn, a left winger and parliamentary veteran with a long history of voting against his own party, triumphed on a message of promising to increase government investment though money-printing and renationalising vast swathes of the economy.

Corbyn supporter chosen as London mayor candidate

Britain's opposition Labour Party has selected a left-leaning lawmaker as its candidate for next year's Mayor of London election, adding to signs of a swing leftwards within the party.

Sadiq Khan (45) who was the first Muslim to attend cabinet, is a supporter of Jeremy Corbyn, who has pledged to renationalise swathes of the economy.

Khan, Labour's justice spokesman during the last parliament, will compete against a Conservative party candidate yet to be announced in the May 2016 election to succeed Boris Johnson.

Johnson recently won a seat in Britain's national parliament and is considered a possible next leader of the Conservative party after Prime Minister David Cameron who has said he will step down before the 2020.

The mayor of London has the second-largest direct electoral mandate of any politician in Europe, behind only the French president, and is responsible for policing, transport and housing. The position was introduced in 2000.

Khan won 59 percent of the vote, backed by six unions and former Labour mayor Ken Livingstone, way more than runner-up former minister Tessa Jowell with 41 percent.

Khan, who grew up in a deprived neighbourhood in the southwest London area of Tooting, campaigned on a platform to tackle the capital's shortage of cheap housing and rising air pollution. He has said he will oppose a third runway at Heathrow airport and ban fracking in London.

"My priorities for Londoners are clear: an affordable and secure home to rent or buy," he said.

He added: "More jobs with higher wages for the lowest paid, making it easier to set up and run a successful business, reducing the cost of commuting and making London's environment safer, healthier and less polluted."