Jeremy Corbyn: Election was ‘taken over by Brexit’
Jeremy Corbyn has said he did “everything he could” to get the Labour party into government in the General Election, and that he will not “walk away” until another leader is installed.
The Labour leader said the election was “taken over by Brexit,” after the Conservatives stormed to victory in its traditional bases.
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Critics inside and out of the party have blamed Corbyn’s leadership for the loss.
He said he was “obviously very said,” but also had pride in the manifesto offered by Labour.
Former Labour MP John Mann said Corbyn should have “gone already,” while former Labour cabinet minister Lord David Blunkett said the party’s leadership should apologise for the defeat.
Blunkett added that they were “lacking in any contrite belief that they made a mistake”.
Corbyn said it was not Labour’s National Executive to decide when he would leave post, saying a new leader would most likely be picked early next year.
However, he added that he wouldn’t step down as leader yet because the “responsible thing to do is not to walk away from the whole thing”.
He said: “I called last night for a period of reflection in the party and obviously the ruling body of the party, our national executive, will decide what process we follow then for the election of the successor to me.
“But I am quite prepared, and I was elected to do so, to lead the party until that takes place.”
“I’ve done everything I could to lead this party… and since I became leader the membership has more than doubled and the party has developed a very serious, radical yes, but serious and fully-costed manifesto”.
Corbyn said once a successor was found he would continue to be an MP for Islington North and keep doing “the campaigning work I’ve done all my life”.
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“This election was taken over ultimately by Brexit and we, as a party, represent people who both voted Remain and Leave,” he said.
“My whole strategy was to reach out beyond the Brexit divide to try and bring people together because ultimately the country has to come together.”