The Labour Leadership: Blair wins with 60% of votes from MPs and MEPs

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The Independent Online
TONY BLAIR was elected as Labour's new leader with a comfortable 57 per cent on the first ballot, winning in all three sections of the electoral college. It was the first leadership contest in which Labour used one member, one vote.

He won most heavily among MPs and members of the European Parliament in a contest in which 952,109 votes were cast from the estimated 4.3 million that could have been used.

For the deputy leadership, John Prescott took 56.5 per cent of the vote against 43.5 per cent for Margaret Beckett, his position in the MPs' section strengthened by a dozen MPs who originally nominated Mrs Beckett but switched to him during the campaign.

Among MPs and MEPs, Tony Blair took 60.5 per cent of the votes, Margaret Beckett and John Prescott dividing the remainder 19.9 per cent and 19.6 per cent respectively. Among party members, Mr Blair took 58.23 per cent, John Prescott 24.4 and Mrs Beckett 17.4.

Among affiliated organisations - the section dominated by the trades unions - Mr Blair took 52.3 per cent, Mr Prescott 28.4 per cent and Mrs Beckett 19.3 per cent.

For the deputy leadership, John Prescott won among MPs and MEPs by 53.7 per cent to 46.3 per cent, among party members by 59.4 per cent to 40.6, and among affiliated organisations by 56.6 per cent to 43.4.

Among the big unions such as the Transport and General Workers Union, the GMB, the MSF, Unison and the Amalgamated Engineering and Electrical Union, union levy payers all voted the Blair/Prescott ticket with the exception of the TGWU membership. It voted for Mrs Beckett as deputy, overturning an executive recommendation to vote for her as leader.

Turnout among the unions was disappointingly low - a mere 19.5 per cent overall - and down well below that for some. But a union spokesman said turnout was not much different to that recorded for the election of union officials.

Among party members the turnout was high - of general election proportions at 69.1 per cent, a figure seen as encouraging Mr Blair's desire to build a mass-membership party.

In the deputy leadership contest, MPs who nominated Margaret Beckett but then voted for John Prescott included Joe Ashton (Bassetlaw), Hugh Bayley (York), Gerry Bermingham (St Helen's S) Bryan Davies (Oldham C and Royton), Brian Donohoe (Cunninghame S), Jim Dowd (Lewisham W), Bill Etherington (Sunderland N), Bruce George (Walsall S), Tommy Graham (Renfrew W and Inverclyde), Eric Illesley (Barnsley Central), Greville Janner (Leicester W) Piara Khabra (Ealing Southall). Three MPs switched the other way, voting for Mrs Beckett having nominated John Prescott. They were Tony Banks (Newham North West), Helen Jackson (Sheffield Hillsborough) and Eddie Loyden (Liverpool, Garston).