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Jeremy Corbyn indicates early 2020 for departure date despite party pressure to quit immediately

Corbyn won’t be leading the party into the next general election but has refused to be drawn on a date for his departure.

Jeremy Corbyn leaves his home in Islington, north London, this morning.
Jeremy Corbyn leaves his home in Islington, north London, this morning.
Image: PA/Isabel Infantes

UK LABOUR LEADER Jeremy Corbyn has indicated he will step down as party leader early next year after leading Labour to its worst election result in more than 80 years.

The MP for Islington is facing calls to stand down immediately after a disastrous night for the party, which saw a string of Labour strongholds fall to the Tories.

Speaking to Sky News this afternoon, Corbyn said he would not be leading the party into the next general election but refused to be drawn on a definitive date for his departure nor who he’d like to see succeed him as party leader. 

Corbyn said it was up to Labour’s National Executive to meet ahead of his departure and for the party then to elect a new leader, adding he hoped there will be a period of reflection within the party following last night’s result. 

“The responsible thing to do is not to walk away,” the Labour leader said, in response to calls for him to stand down immediately. 

Corbyn said he was “very sad” at the election result which the Conservatives win a massive majority, ensuring Boris Johnson will remain as Prime Minister for five years and giving him a mandate to push Brexit through. 

Corbyn added that he still has “pride” in the Labour Party’s manifesto but admitted that the UK general election was all about Brexit. 

“I did everything I possibly could to win this general election in order to bridge the divide between those that voted Leave and those that voted Remain,” said Corbyn. 

Meanwhile, Veteran MP Dame Margaret Hodge, a long-standing critic, said the result represented the rejection of the entire Corbyn project and that it was time for him to quit.

She said that under his leadership, Labour had become the “nasty party” with anti-Semitism allowed to flourish.

“People just didn’t trust the economics, the confetti of promises that was thrown at the public without any clear and honest way they were going to be paid for,” she told the BBC.

“People didn’t trust us with the national security of the nation. People didn’t trust Mr Corbyn with looking after them.

“Labour has become the nasty party. I am one of the victims of that with the anti-Semitism.”

labour Source: PA Graphics

Phil Wilson, who lost Tony Blair’s former seat of Sedgefield to the Tories, said attempts by the leadership to put the result down to Brexit was “mendacious nonsense”.

“Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership was a bigger problem. To say otherwise is delusional. The party’s leadership went down like a lead balloon on the doorstep,” he said.

After losing former Labour stronghold Stoke-on-Trent North, Ruth Smeeth said: “This is a disaster. Jeremy Corbyn should resign now before his own count is in.”

Former cabinet minister Hilary Benn said voters simply did not have confidence in Mr Corbyn’s leadership.

“Any Labour canvasser will tell you we knocked on too many doors where people said, ‘I’ve voted Labour all my life but I’m not going to vote Labour in this occasion’, and they didn’t have confidence in the leadership of the party,” he said.

Allies of the Labour leader insisted the defeat was down to the inability to overcome differences over Brexit rather than a rejection of Corbyn’s radical left-wing policy programme.

The party was left with just 203 seats – down from the 262 it won in the 2017 general election and the 243 it held when Parliament was dissolved last month. 

With reporting from Press Association 

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