Jeremy Corbyn: ‘I did everything I could to lead Labour’

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Media captionJeremy Corbyn: “There is no such thing as Corbynism”

Jeremy Corbyn says he did “everything he could” to get Labour into power and will not “walk away” until another leader is elected.

The Labour leader said the election, which saw the Conservatives sweep aside his party in its traditional heartlands, was “taken over by Brexit”.

Mr Corbyn said he was “obviously very sad” but also had “pride” in the manifesto his party put forward.

Some people within Labour have blamed Mr Corbyn’s leadership for the defeat.

Former Labour MP John Mann said the leader’s unpopularity on the doorstep was palpable and Mr Corbyn should have “gone already” after presiding over his party’s worst election performance since the 1930s.

Lord Blunkett, a former Labour cabinet minister, called for the party leadership to apologise for the defeat, adding that they were “lacking in any contrite belief that they made a mistake”.

At 33%, Labour’s share of the vote was down around eight points on the 2017 general election and is lower than that achieved by Neil Kinnock in 1992.

Mr Corbyn said it was up to the National Executive, the ruling body of the party, to decide when he would go, adding it was likely a new leader would be selected in the early part of next year.

He said he would not step down as leader yet because the “responsible thing to do is not to walk away from the whole thing”.

Asked whether he was part of the problem, he said: “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”.

Image caption Keir Starmer, one of the favourites to be the new leader, says it’s “a big task” to rebuild Labour

Keir Starmer, one of the favourites to replace Mr Corbyn as leader, said there was “no hiding” from the election result which was “devastating for our party”.

He said it was the party’s duty to “rebuild” which was going to be “a very big task”.

Asked if he wanted to be the next leader, he said: “I think this is the time for reflecting and understanding the result. I don’t underestimate the size of the task ahead.”

Unite union boss Len McCluskey, an influential Labour ally, said the result was “deeply, deeply disappointing”

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