Saturday, 14 December 2019 08:39

Jeremy Corbyn to quit as Labour leader after ‘devastating’ election results

Jeremy Corbyn has announced that he will stand down as the leader of the Labour party after a humiliating night. Mr Corbyn and his closest allies appeared ashen as seat after seat fell to the Tories and many Labour constituencies saw their majorities cut significantly.

Describing the outcome as ‘very disappointing’ he said he will not lead the party in any future election campaign. He said: ‘I want to say this, I will remain the MP for Islington North and I’m proud to represent the people of Islington North.’ He said he would discuss with the party how to ensure there was a ‘process of reflection ‘. ‘I will lead the party during this period to ensure this discussion takes place.’ Who will be the next Labour leader? Jeremy Corbyn: I will not lead the party in another General Election Play Video Loaded: 0% 0:00Progress: 0% PlayMute Current Time0:00 / Duration Time2:18 Fullscreen Jeremy Corbyn pictured as he left the stage where he said he planned to quit (Picture: Getty) Labour peer Andrew Adonis tweeted: ‘I think the “period of reflection” required to assess the need for new leadership of the Labour Party should be about ten minutes.’ Mr Corbyn added: ‘And I’m proud in Parliament and outside that we will forever continue the cause for socialism, for social justice and for a society based on the needs of all rather than the greed of a few. ‘That is what makes our party what it is and I’m very proud of the achievements of our party and the development of its manifesto and its ideas. ‘I tell you what, those ideas and those principles are eternal and they will be there for all time.’ In a later interview he said he was ‘very sad’ about such a devastating defeat but said he still has ‘pride in our manifesto and all of the policies that we put forward which actually had huge public support’. His party, which had 243 MPs when Parliament was dissolved last month, was forecast to lose 52 seats, according to a BBC/Sky/ITV exit poll, which put the Tories on 368 seats. He saw the Labour vote collapse in the General Election (Picture: Getty) The poll predicted Labour would win just 191 seats, the Scottish National Party 55, Liberal Democrats 13, the Brexit Party none, Plaid Cymru three and Greens one – giving Mr Johnson a majority of 86. Such a poor result would be the worst for Labour in terms of seats since 1935. Mr Corbyn’s tenure as leader saw him outlast two Tory prime ministers and transform Labour’s identity from a party of pragmatism to one in favour of radical change as he rode a wave of anti-austerity resentment. But no-one was perhaps more surprised than Mr Corbyn when the serial rebel and stalwart of the party’s left was thrust into the top job. The anti-war campaigner, who has represented Islington North since 1983, had to be persuaded to run as an outsider candidate for Labour’s leadership after a crashing general election defeat in 2015 left the party in need of re-invigoration. Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry beems as she walks next to a dejected-looking Jeremy Corbyn (Picture: Getty) He scraped onto the ballot paper thanks to the nominations of non-supporters hoping to broaden the debate. Those colleagues had not expected the meteoric rise that followed when the party’s membership, swollen by supporters joining under new rules, overwhelmingly voted for him in September of that year. The move was much to the indignation of many in his parliamentary party, and he suffered a shadow cabinet walkout and a no-confidence vote with fears he was electorally incompetent. But he survived the effort to dethrone him with a second leadership election thanks to his overwhelming popularity among grassroots members. Having already seen the demise of David Cameron with his loss of the EU referendum, Mr Corbyn headed into the 2017 general election with the polls suggesting his prospects were poor. He did not win, as some of his supporters may have you believe, but he did not suffer the humiliating defeat many predicted. Labour MP rips into Jeremy Corbyn before losing Stoke-on-Trent North Play Video Loaded: 0% 0:00Progress: 0% PlayMute Current Time0:00 / Duration Time0:49 Fullscreen Jeremy Corbyn took the party from pragmatism to radical change (Picture: Getty) Instead Labour won 40% of the vote, vastly improving on Ed Miliband’s share, and stripping Theresa May of her majority. It is ironic, then, that Mrs May’s effort to bury Labour instead gave Mr Corbyn’s credentials a major boost and bolstered his image as a credible leader. That election saw him win the hearts and minds of many younger voters, encouraging in them a taste for drastic change. Just two years later, and it appears Labour is heading for heavy losses, a defeat that is likely to lead to an inquest into what went wrong. The veteran campaigner was seen as having only tepid enthusiasm for his work in support of remaining in the EU. And Labour’s Brexit stance was widely seen as ambiguous, particularly in the face of the unequivocally Remain-backing Lib Dems. Another major concern for many potential voters was his perceived failure to eradicate the scourge of anti-Semitism in the Labour ranks. It now seems that Labour’s once-reluctant leader could soon have more time on his hands to spend on his beloved allotment.


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