Jeremy Corbyn I Will Not Lead Labour At Next Election
Jeremy Corbyn has said he will not lead Labour into the next election, following a “very disappointing night” for his party.
He said he would stay on as leader during a “process of reflection” on the result, which a BBC forecast says will be its worst since 1935.
He added that the issue of Brexit had “polarised” politics and “overridden so much of normal political debate”.
But others within Labour blamed his leadership.
Labour have lost a string of former strongholds in the north of England and Wales in areas that voted Leave in the 2016 EU referendum.
A BBC forecast has put Labour on 203 seats – a predicted loss of 59 from the last general election in 2017.
The Conservatives have already won an overall majority, with a handful of seats left to declare.
Speaking after retaining his North Islington seat, Mr Corbyn said the party’s manifesto policies had enjoyed “huge popular support”, and criticised the “way the media behaved” towards his party during the campaign.
But he added: “Brexit has so polarised and divided debate in this country, it has overridden so much of a normal political debate.”
“I recognise that has contributed to the results that the Labour Party has received this evening all across this country.”
Labour went into the campaign promising to renegotiate Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal, and then put it to a referendum vote alongside the option of remaining in the EU.
That strategy was criticised by party chairman Ian Lavery, who said it had led voters in traditional Labour seats to believe it was “a Remain party”.
“They believe they should have been listened to – and they think that the Labour party have totally reneged on the result,” he added.
But he added the strategy was not “Jeremy Corbyn’s decision,” as it had beenÂ approved by delegatesÂ at the party’s September conference.
Given the result, you might assume Jeremy Corbyn would swiftly fall on his sword – but he has instead called for a period of quiet reflection.
Party rules make it difficult to oust him, but already senior figures are asking how long this period will last.
Senior figures at Westminster and in local government feel delaying an inevitable leadership contest will lead to a similar result in May’s council elections.
Mr Corbyn seems intent on staying in place until someone from his wing of the party is ready to take over – but the defeat of shadow minister Laura Pidcock has eliminated one of the potential left-wing leadership challengers.
Those who’d prefer shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer are keen that a new leader is in place soon to challenge Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Brexit policy.
The battle to establish the reasons for the defeat has already begun.
The narrative from the leadership that Brexit was to blame will be challenged robustly by those who want the party to change direction.
Election Results 2019 Tories On Course To Win Majority Exit Poll
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell, a key ally of Mr Corbyn, said he was “heartbroken” at the election result.
He said he would not take on the party leadership temporarily. “At some stage we’ll go into a leadership election,” he said.
“Jeremy wants to ensure there is a period of reflection.”
Earlier, he said he did not think the Labour leader had been “the big issue” of the campaign.
But former Labour justice secretary Lord Falconer called for the party to move quickly to replace Mr Corbyn as leader by March or April
Jeremy Corbyn I Will Not Lead Labour At Next Election
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