Labour begins blame game following election collapse
Party figures call for Corbyn to quit but others say media and Brexit were to blame
Labour figures have begun exploring the reasons for its disastrous showing at the general election, in which it lost 58 seats.
After the party’s worst loss since 1935, many party figures have pointed the finger of blame directly and firmly at leader Jeremy Corbyn
Helen Goodman, the defeated Labour MP for Bishop Auckland, said: “The Labour party cannot win if it doesn’t have a leader who commands the confidence and trust in the British public. Until we do have such a leader we’re not going to win.”
Ruth Smeeth, the former MP for Stoke-on Trent who also lost her seat overnight, said the party now “has huge, huge questions to answer”.
Turning her wrath on the party leader, she said: “Jeremy Corbyn should announce that he’s resigning as leader of the Labour Party from his count today. He should have gone many, many, many months ago.
“There is absolutely no justification for why he is still there and his personal actions have delivered this result for my constituents and for swathes of the country overnight.”
Edinburgh South MP Ian Murray used his victory speech to attack his own party’s leadership for helping to deliver “the worst Conservative prime minister in history”.
He said the Tories’ thumping victory is “a sad indictment on the Labour Party” and warned: “This party must listen, this party must respond, or this party will die.”
Former Labour home secretary Alan Johnson also turned against Corbyn, telling ITV News that the leader had been “incapable of leading” and “worse than useless at all the qualities you need to lead a political party”.
Although Corbyn has said he will stand down, he has put the blame elsewhere, mourning the “way the media behaved” towards his party during the campaign, adding that Brexit has “polarised and divided debate in this country” and “overridden so much of a normal political debate”.
His allies have also complained that Brexit had overshadowed issues such as the future of the NHS, where the party was on much stronger ground.
However, the party chairman Ian Lavery told the BBC that Labour’s approach on Brexit is to blame. “What we are seeing in the Labour heartlands is people very aggrieved at the fact the party basically has taken a stance on Brexit the way they have,” he said.
The Journal also points to factors other than Corbyn, writing that “it’s a fact that the ‘red wall’ was wobbling well before 2015”.
The Guardian says Labour’s campaign strategy may have added to its disappointing night. The party “spread its base wide, perhaps making its mission too expansive,” it says.
Completing a set of early recriminations, a Labour source has blamed the manifesto, saying: “It wasn’t that people didn’t like the policies, people thought there [were] too many of them.”
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