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Jeremy Corbyn says he will stay on as Labour leader while party 'reflects' on crushing election defeat

3 min read

Jeremy Corbyn has vowed to stay on as Labour leader during a "period of reflection" in the wake of the party's crushing election defeat.

The Labour boss said Brexit, rather than the party's "extremely popular" policies, was to blame for its worst election performance in more than 80 years.

Mr Corbyn also launched a bitter attack on the media, who he accused of hounding him and his family.

The Sky News/BBC/ITV exit poll forecast that Labour will have 191 MPs - 71 fewer than were elected in 2017 - with the Tories on course for a majority of 86.

Dozens of Labour seats in the party's northern strongholds have fallen to the Conservatives, with the likes of Laura Pidcock, Emma Reynolds, Ruth Smeeth, Jenny Chapman and Anna Turley all losing their seats.

Ms Smeeth was among those who have called for Mr Corbyn to stand down immediately following Labour's humiliation.

But while he admitted he would not lead Labour into another general election, Mr Corbyn said he would not be giving up the job in the near future.

Speaking after he was re-elected MP for Islington North, he said: "I will discuss with our party to ensure there is a process now of reflection on this result and on the policies that the party will take going forward.

"And I will lead the party during that period to ensure that discussion takes place and that we move on into the future."

Mr Corbyn said it was "a very disappointing night for the Labour Party", but mounted a stout defence of its election manifesto.

He said: "All of those policies were extremely popular during the election campaign and remain policies that have huge popular support all across this country.

"However, Brexit has so polarised and divided debates in this country. it has overridden so much of a normal political debate, and I recognise that has contributed to the results that the Labour Party has received this evening all across this country."

Turning his fire on the media, the Labour leader said: "The pressure on those surrounding politicians is often very, very high indeed.

"The media intrusion on people's lives is very high indeed. And the attacks that take place against family and loved ones of politicians continue and they are disgraceful and frankly they are disgusting."

The race to succeed Mr Corbyn as Labour leader has already begun in earnest, with Jess Phillips, Emily Thornberry and Lisa Nandy all indicating that they are planning to run.

Speaking as she was re-elected in Wigan, Ms Nandy said: "I met too many people during this election campaign, lifelong Labour voters, who told me that they need a Labour government but they simply couldn't vote for one in this general election.

"This has been a long time coming. They have been telling us in towns like Wigan for some time that all is not right... I have listened. I have heard you. I will make it my mission from this day forward to bring Labour home to you."

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