LONDON, Sept. 24 (UPI) — Jeremy Corbyn was re-elected as the leader of the U.K.’s labor party after a convincing defeat over opponent Owen Smith.
Corbyn won 61.8 percent of the vote over Smith’s 38.2 percent and won the majority over Smith in every category winning support from 59 percent of voting members, 70 percent of registered supporters and 60 percent of affiliated supporters, according to The Guardian.
Corbyn’s re-election followed the resignation of dozens of shadow cabinet members after the European Union referendum and tension with Labor members of Parliament who backed a motion of no confidence in him.
Following his victory Corbyn urged people to “respect the democratic choice that has been made” and turn their focus toward “exposing and defeating the Tories,” according to the BBC.
“We have much more in common than divides us,” he said of Smith and other members of the Labor party. “Let us wipe that slate clean from today and get on with the work that we have to do as a party.”
Smith, who had previously said he would not return to the front bench congratulated Corbyn on the result and said he would consider ways to help the Labor party win the next election.
“I entered this race because I didn’t think Jeremy was providing the leadership we needed, and because I felt we must renew our party to win back the voters’ trust and respect,” he said. “However, I fully accept and respect the result and I will reflect carefully on it and on what role I might play in future to help Labor win again for the British people.”
Labor party deputy leader Tom Watson called for a system that would allow for MPs to provide input in choosing Corbyn’s frontbench in hopes of encouraging members who resigned over the summer to return.
Corbyn however dismissed the need for shadow cabinet elections and turned his focus to confronting Prime Minister Theresa May’s plan to bring back grammar schools in hopes of reuniting the party.
“This time next week we will hit the streets united as a party,” he said. “I am calling on Labour party members to join us in a national campaign for inclusive education for all next Saturday.”