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  1. ITV Report

Ursula von der Leyen elected New European Commission president

Ursula von der Leyen has been elected as the European Commission president, the first woman to hold the post.

Ms von der Leyen, who was a last minute candidate, scraped through with nine votes after the European Parliament voted 383-327 with 22 abstentions.

The Belgium-born mother-of-seven said she was "honoured" and "overwhelmed."

"My message to all of you is: let us work together constructively," she said.

"The task ahead of us humbles me."

Von der Leyen after the close vote which secured her the top EU Commission job. Credit: *

Ms von der Leyen, a long-term ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel had already been nominated by all 28 EU leaders, including Theresa May, but still needed the backing of the legislature.

The outgoing German defence minister will be passed the baton for the presidency from Jean-Claude Juncker at the end of October 2019.

Ms von der Leyen's candidacy had sparked some controversy at the European Parliament with many legislators angry that none of their lead candidates were picked for the job.

Ursula von der Leyen with outgoing European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker Credit: AP

The secret ballot announcement came after Ms von der Leyen had clashed with Nigel Farage in the European Parliament as she said she would allow another Brexit extension beyond October 31 if there were good reasons. The in-coming commission president said she respected but regretted the UK's decision to leave the EU.

She said: "We cannot talk about Europe without talking about our friends from the UK.

"For the very first time, in 2016 a member state decided to leave the EU. "This is a serious decision, we regret it but we respect it.

"Since then, together with the current government of the UK, the EU has worked hard to organise the orderly departure of the UK."

The Withdrawal Agreement negotiated with Theresa May's administration by Michel Barnier "provides certainty where Brexit created uncertainty", she said.

"However, I stand ready for a further extension of the withdrawal date should more time be required for a good reason."

She'll pick up an annual salary of €306,655 - which works out as £275,000 a year. That means she'll be earning around £22,000 per month, before tax.

The post will run for an initial five years, at which point she'll be able to take on a second term.

The Christian Democrat of the European People’s Party said climate and social issues are among her priorities.