Corbett, 52, is regarded as a moderate voice in the Labour group in Brussels.
He defeated Sion Simon, who narrowly lost the contest to be the West Midlands first elected mayor to the Tories this year, and Claire Moody, a former Unite official who has been portrayed as the ‘hard-left’ candidate.
Corbett, who is currently vice-chair of EPLP, was first elected an MEP in 1996 but lost his seat to the BNP in 2009. He returned in 2014 and represents Yorkshire and the Humber.
Before being elected he had a long career in Europe as a civil servant and advisor and helped to draft parts of the Maastricht Treaty.
He was widely expected to run for EPLP leader when a vacancy became available.
Corbett has distinguished himself as a fierce opponent of the far-right. He was one of the first politicians to highlight the growing threat of the BNP and then UKIP in the north of England