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1983: 'Dream ticket' wins Labour leadership
Neil Kinnock has been elected leader of the Labour Party.

He succeeds Michael Foot after a highly successful election where he gained a clear majority in votes cast by all three sections of Labour's electoral college.

The electoral college is comprised of the parliamentary party, the constituency party and the trade unions. Mr Kinnock took 71% of the vote.

Roy Hattersley joins him as deputy. An unexpected shift in support from the unions helped him defeat the left-wing contender Michael Meacher.

The new Kinnock-Hattersley partnership is perceived by many within the party as the centre right and "soft" left alliance that could be Labour's "dream ticket" to government in the next general election.

Between us we can do what the party needs. We are demonstrating unity
Roy Hattersley
In his victory speech at the Labour Party conference in Brighton, Mr Kinnock stressed Labour needed first and foremost to be a unified force.

"We can enjoy fraternity between socialists and we must enjoy fidelity to socialism," he said.

Mr Hattersley said he is looking forward to working with the new leader.

"Between us we can do what the party needs. We are demonstrating unity... the task is to make Neil Kinnock the next Prime Minister of England," he said.

Asked whether Labour could recover after suffering such a crushing defeat in the June general election, Mr Kinnock said his party's policies were in touch with the electorate.

He added: "Mrs Thatcher is presiding over and will continue with policies which will bring industrial tragedy to this country ... the people will make the Conservatives pay for that ... they lack substance or conviction and they will be rejected."

Neil Kinnock's determination to unify the party already faces a hefty challenge. BBC political correspondent John Cole says disagreement over nuclear disarmament will be the first chasm Mr Kinnock has to bridge.

Many members of Labour's national executive remain committed to total disarmament of UK nuclear weapons regardless of any Russian concessions.

But Mr Kinnock is said to be wary of committing to such an inflexible policy.

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Roy Hattersley (left) and Neil Kinnock
Labour's "dream ticket" to government?


In Context
Labour had suffered a serious defeat in the general election of June 1983.

Under Neil Kinnock they lost again in 1987 and in 1992, after which he resigned as leader.

Mr Kinnock embraced Europe and pushed through reforms within the party.

He is widely regarded as having been a transitional leader, saving Labour from near political oblivion and helping to sow the seeds of New Labour.

He was succeeded by John Smith and Tony Blair.

Mr Kinnock became a member of the European Commission in 1995 and its vice-president in 1999. He retired from the European Commission in 2004 and in January 2005 he became a life peer.

Stories From 2 Oct


 
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