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'I take my responsibility for it': Jeremy Corbyn apologises for Labour's election result

Corbyn has written an open letter to Labour supporters.

Jeremy Corbyn yesterday.
Jeremy Corbyn yesterday.

JEREMY CORBYN HAS apologised to Labour supporters over the party’s catastrophic performance in the British general election.

In an open letter, the Labour leader acknowledged the party “came up short” in the poll on Thursday, adding: “I take my responsibility for it.”

But despite Labour suffering its worst result since 1935 – with dozens of seats falling to the Tories – he said he was “proud” the party had offered a message of “hope” in the election.

Corbyn was widely criticised in the aftermath of the election for failing to apologise as Labour’s hitherto impregnable “red wall” of seats in the north, the midlands and north Wales crumbled. 

In his letter to the Sunday Mirror, he said: “I will make no bones about it. The result was a body blow for everyone who so desperately needs real change in our country.

“I’m sorry that we came up short and I take my responsibility for it.”

The Labour leader – who has said he will stand down in the early part of next year after taking the party through a “process of reflection” – said it was determined to regain the trust of traditional Labour voters who turned against it.

“We will learn the lessons of this defeat, above all by listening to lifelong Labour voters who we’ve lost in working-class communities,” he said.

“This party exists to represent them. We will earn their trust back.”

Writing in The Observer, Corbyn insisted the policies he set out were genuinely popular and had re-set the terms of the debate in the election.

“I am proud that on austerity, on corporate power, on inequality and on the climate emergency we have won the arguments and rewritten the terms of political debate,” he said.

“There is no doubt that our policies are popular, from public ownership of rail and key utilities to a massive house-building programme and a pay rise for millions. The question is how can we succeed in future where we didn’t this time?” 

Former Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock told The Independent that Corbyn “must own this devastating defeat and go after a maximum of two months, starting in January a leadership election”.

Kinnock added: “It will be vital for Labour members at every level to heed what they heard on countless doorsteps and not seek excuses or alibis.”

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