We now know that Keir Starmer has been elected as leader of the Labour Party by winning 56.2% of the vote in the first round.
He received a whopping 275,780 votes from members, registered supporters and affiliated members under the same one-person-one-vote system used to elect Jeremy Corbyn as leader in 2015 and 2016.
16 contests have been held to elect the leader since the first official contest in 1922, where future Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald won with 52% of the vote. In that time, four different systems have been used to elect them:
- For contests held between 1922-1980, the Parliamentary Labour Party alone elected the leader;
- For the three contests in 1983, 1988 and 1992, an electoral college gave the PLP, constituency labour parties (CLPs) and trade unions 30%, 30% and 40% of the vote respectively;
- For the 1994 and 2010 contests, the electoral college was adjusted to give each group a third of the total vote;
- Since 2015, the leader of the Labour Party has been elected using a one-person-one-vote system made up of full members, registered supporters and affiliated members.
If assessed according to percentage, Starmer’s vote share puts him in the bottom five of the list, tied with James Callaghan who was elected by the PLP in 1976 with 56.2% of the vote.
If we look at the 2020 result according to raw number of votes, Starmer’s success is the third biggest after Tony Blair in 1994 (508,148 votes – including lots of affiliates) and Jeremy Corbyn in 2016 (313,209 votes).
|Leader||Year||Vote share||Voting system|
|John Smith||1992||91% (5,648 votes)||Electoral college|
|Neil Kinnock||1988||88.6% (6,277 votes)||Electoral college|
|Hugh Gaitskell||1961||74.4% (171 votes)||PLP|
|Neil Kinnock||1983||71.3% (5,060 votes)||Electoral college|
|Hugh Gaitskell||1960||67.2% (166 votes)||PLP|
|Clement Attlee||1935||64.7% (88 votes, 2nd round)||PLP|
|Jeremy Corbyn||2016||61.8% (313,209 votes)||One person, one vote|
|Jeremy Corbyn||2015||59.5% (251,417 votes)||One person, one vote|
|Hugh Gaitskell||1955||58.8% (157 votes)||PLP|
|Harold Wilson||1963||58.3% (144 votes, 2nd round)||PLP|
|Tony Blair||1994||57% (508,148 votes)||Electoral college, OMOV|
|Keir Starmer||2020||56.2% (275,780 votes)||One person, one vote|
|James Callaghan||1976||56.2% (176 votes, 3rd round)||PLP|
|Ramsay MacDonald||1922||52.1% (61 votes)||PLP|
|Michael Foot||1980||51.9% (139 votes, 2nd round)||PLP|
|Ed Miliband||2010||50.7% (175,519 votes, 4th round)||Electoral college, OMOV|