2016 Labour Party leadership election (UK)

The 2016 Labour Party leadership election was called when a challenge to Jeremy Corbyn as Leader of the Labour Party arose following criticism of his approach to the Remain campaign in the referendum on membership of the European Union and questions about his leadership of the party.[2]

2016 Labour Party leadership election
 2015 22 August – 24 September 2016 (2016-08-22 2016-09-24) 2020 
Turnout506,438
(77.6%)[1]
 
Candidate Jeremy Corbyn Owen Smith
Popular vote 313,209 193,229
Percentage 61.8% 38.2%

Leader before election

Jeremy Corbyn

Elected Leader

Jeremy Corbyn

Following a period of tension over Corbyn's leadership, the immediate trigger to events was the Leave result of the referendum. Hilary Benn, the Shadow Foreign Secretary, was sacked by Corbyn on 25 June after Benn expressed no confidence in him.[3] More than two dozen members of the Shadow Cabinet resigned over the following two days,[4] and a no-confidence vote was supported by 172 MPs in the Parliamentary Labour Party, against 40 supporting Corbyn.[5] It was reported that Tom Watson, the Deputy Leader, told Corbyn that he would face a challenge to his position as leader.[6] Corbyn stated that he would not resign.[7]

By the end of June, Angela Eagle and Owen Smith were being promoted as intending to contest the leadership. Eagle announced her candidacy on 11 July,[8][9] and Smith did likewise on 13 July.[10] The National Executive Committee decided that, as the incumbent, Corbyn would be automatically included on the ballot without requiring nominations from the parliamentary party;[11] some political analysts had previously predicted that Corbyn would struggle to obtain the requisite number of signatures had that been required.[12]

Eagle pulled out of the race on 19 July, leaving Smith to challenge Corbyn for the leadership in a head-to-head race;[13] Eagle said that she would back Smith after she had attracted fewer nominations. Smith told the BBC that Eagle was a "star" and that she would be "at [his] right hand" if he won the leadership.[14][15]

The result was announced on 24 September 2016. Jeremy Corbyn won the election with 313,209 votes, increasing his share of the vote from 59.5% to 61.8% compared with the result of the 2015 leadership election, and receiving some 62,000 more votes than in 2015.