• Jeremy Corbyn cemented the Left’s grip on Labour and claimed he had won 
  • Hard-Left leader added 3.5million votes to Ed Miliband’s total two years earlier 
  • Largest increase in Labour’s vote share versus the previous election since 1945

Daniel Martin Policy Editor For The Daily Mail

Jeremy Corbyn cemented the Left's grip on Labour last night as he claimed the party had effectively 'won' the election

Jeremy Corbyn cemented the Left's grip on Labour last night as he claimed the party had effectively 'won' the election

Jeremy Corbyn cemented the Left’s grip on Labour last night as he claimed the party had effectively ‘won’ the election

Jeremy Corbyn cemented the Left’s grip on Labour last night as he claimed the party had effectively ‘won’ the election.

He emerged triumphant after his party defied all expectations to pick up 30 seats and deny Theresa May a Commons majority.

The hard-Left leader added 3.5million votes to Ed Miliband’s total two years earlier, putting him in touching distance of Downing Street.

It was the largest increase in Labour’s share of the vote, compared to the previous election, since Clement Attlee’s victory in 1945.

Jubilant allies of Mr Corbyn and his shadow chancellor John McDonnell, including Left-wing union firebrand Len McCluskey, insisted the result was a ‘vindication’ of the way they had seized control of the party.

Moderate critics among Labour were humiliated – with MPs who had tried to oust the leader last year forced to eat their words and congratulate him.

Plans for leadership challenges against Mr Corbyn were scrapped once the scale of his victory became clear. Even Lord Mandelson, the arch-Blairite former Cabinet minister, was forced to deny pronouncements that New Labour was over.

Speaking yesterday morning, Mr Corbyn said: ‘This is an incredible result for the Labour party because people voted for hope.

‘Young people and old people all came together. There was a huge increase in the Labour vote and they did it because they wanted to see things done differently, and they wanted hope in their lives.

‘We put on more than three million votes yesterday.’

DID SOUTHERN RAIL BOOST LABOUR? 

The long-running dispute on Southern Railway was last night blamed for Tory losses in the commuter belt.

Hundreds of thousands of passengers have suffered more than a year of travel misery on the network because of strikes and staff shortages.

The Conservatives lost a number of key seats along the route served including Croydon, Eastbourne and Brighton, while Home Secretary Amber Rudd came close to defeat in her Hastings constituency.

Emily Yates, of the Association of British Commuters, said: ‘Once again, we see the public in the south reject the narrative that Southern Rail and the Government have been pushing over a whole year of commuter suffering.’ 

He added: ‘The party that has lost this election is the Conservative Party. The arguments that the Conservative Party put forward in this election have lost.

‘We gained seats in every region of the country, we gained three million more votes on a much higher turnout – I think that is a pretty good result. We put forward our policies – strong and hopeful policies – and they’ve gained an amazing response and traction.

‘I think it’s pretty clear who won this election. We are ready to serve the people.’ Labour notched up a tally of 12.9million votes – up from the 9.3million that Mr Miliband managed two years ago.

The 40 per cent share of the vote he achieved was higher than Tony Blair achieved in 2005, and just three points behind the Tories.

Labour’s share was 9.6 per cent higher than the previous election. The surge left the party with 262 seats – enough to deny Theresa May a majority in the Commons.

Shadow chancellor Mr McDonnell said the leadership had ‘consolidated our position’.

‘We have laid the foundations for a minority government, and then eventually a majority government,’ he said. ‘The instability that we now have is not from the Labour Party or other parties, it’s the Conservative Party itself.

‘If we can form a minority government, I think we could have a stability government, not through deals or coalitions but policy by policy. That would prevent another election, because I think people have had enough of elections.’

Jeremy Corbyn was spotted relaxing with a hot drink in a cafe in his London constituency, chatting on the phone while his wife, Laura Alvarez, smiled happily at him

Jeremy Corbyn was spotted relaxing with a hot drink in a cafe in his London constituency, chatting on the phone while his wife, Laura Alvarez, smiled happily at him

Jeremy Corbyn was spotted relaxing with a hot drink in a cafe in his London constituency, chatting on the phone while his wife, Laura Alvarez, smiled happily at him

Mr McDonnell said that if Mrs May persisted in her efforts to remain in power, Labour would table an alternative Queen’s Speech and seek to put it to a vote. ‘The responsibility is on Theresa May now to stand down and for the Conservative Party to go away and sort itself out and let a Labour government take its place,’ he said.

Will Corbyn deliver his own Queen’s speech?  

Last night there were claims Mr Corbyn will deliver an ‘alternative Queen’s speech’ to challenge Theresa May.

His team is making preparations for policies which will be presented by the Labour leader, the Guardian said, but it is unclear where or how the speech will take place.

Len McCluskey, the hard-Left general secretary of the Unite union, hailed the ‘fantastic result’ for his close ally Mr Corbyn. ‘It was an absolute vindication for Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership,’ he said. ‘The Labour party under Jeremy Corbyn won millions of voters and brought them back into politics.’

Matt Wrack, general secretary of the Fire Brigades Union, said: ‘Millions of voters supported policies that just two years ago were condemned as fringe ideas – re-nationalising the railways, scrapping student debt, building new homes.

‘Jeremy Corbyn has shifted the political debate decisively in favour of working class people by working towards what is fair and just. It seems that the Tory party’s austerity agenda may have had its day.’

Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said: ‘This is a remarkable result that few predicted at the start of the campaign – certainly not Theresa May. 

‘She has dragged the whole country through an election, only to leave herself and her party as damaged goods. Jeremy has inspired millions to vote for the first time and reinvigorated the fortunes of the Labour party.’ 

Now critics line up to PRAISE their leader’s campaign 

Blairite critics of Jeremy Corbyn had to eat their words after his spectacular election result.

The Labour leader has faced almost constant sniping from moderates since taking charge in 2015. But the shock turnaround in the party’s electoral fortunes earned him praise yesterday from some of his most persistent detractors.

Chuka Umunna said Labour’s campaign had made him change his mind about his leader.

The former shadow business secretary, who was re-elected in Streatham, south London, said he would return to the shadow cabinet if asked.

Chuka Umunna said Labour's campaign had made him change his mind about his leader 

Chuka Umunna said Labour's campaign had made him change his mind about his leader 

Chuka Umunna said Labour’s campaign had made him change his mind about his leader 

‘Jeremy has fought this campaign with enthusiasm, energy, verve,’ he said. ‘He has done a really, really good job getting across a hopeful, optimistic vision and set of policies.’

Owen Smith, the moderate who unsuccessfully stood against Mr Corbyn last summer, also performed an about-turn. ‘I was clearly wrong in feeling that Jeremy was unable to do this well,’ he said. ‘I don’t know what Jeremy’s got but if we could bottle it we’d all be doing very well.’

Lord Mandelson, an arch supporter of Tony Blair, admitted: ‘I was wrong. An earthquake happened in British politics. I acknowledge he has been able to inspire a lot of voters.

‘He’s not going anywhere. He’s remaining as leader of the Labour party for as long as he wants – that’s what he has achieved. ‘

Hilary Benn, the Leeds MP sacked as shadow foreign secretary amid claims he was encouraging colleagues to resign as part of plot to replace Mr Corbyn as leader, said: ‘A lot of young people have been enthused by Jeremy’s campaign.’ 

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