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By Tobias Ellwood
By Ben Guerin
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Ian Lavery under fire for claim Labour has nothing to apologise for over election defeat

2 min read

Labour party chairman Ian Lavery has come under fire after issuing an impassioned defence of the party's disastrous election campaign.

He triggered anger from MPs for saying he would not apologise for offering voters "too much" hope in December's poll, which saw the party suffer their worst electoral defeat since 1935.

Former leader Ed Miliband has already been tasked with leading a "meaningful" review of the campaign, which resulted in several safe Labour seats returning a Conservative MP for the first time in their history.

Speaking in the wake of the defeat, leader Jeremy Corbyn said the party should undertake a "period of reflection" despite claiming they had "won the argument" during the December campaign.

But Mr Lavery, who was responsible for organising the party's election campaign, hit out at critics on Monday, saying that while he was "devastated" by the result he would not apologise for their offering to voters.

"Like hundreds of thousands of others I'm still totally devastated at the GE result," he tweeted.

"In my period of reflection I conclude that I make NO apologies for offering "TOO MUCH" hope, justice, equality, fairness, ambition & aspiration to those in great need."

But the tweet provoked fury from some Labour figures, with Southwark MP Neil Coyle telling PoliticsHome that Mr Lavery should quit over his role in the "hopeless" campaign.

"If Ian had any humility, or had spent any time consider his role in Labour's devastating defeat, he'd have stepped down by now," he said.

"He didn't offer hope as party chair, his campaign was hopeless. He told the party we'd 'never been more election ready' and was in charge when not even basic 'Vote Labour' posters were available.

"Members and activists were let down and deserve an apology."

He added: "The former mining communities and other areas who now have Tory MPs will see his comments for what they are: arrogance, denial and repellant to the people we need to win back to Labour.

"He should apologise and resign."

Meanwhile, fellow Labour MP Bridget Phillipson said the party "owed the British people an apology" for the result.

She tweeted: "Our failure means that more children in my community will grow up in poverty. It means patients waiting longer for urgent treatment.

"Time for some honesty and humility."

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