Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Corbyn Was the Problem at Poll, Says Beaten MP

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Corbyn Was the Problem at Poll, Says Beaten MP

Article excerpt

Byline: WALKER Political Editor

SOME former Labour MPs vented their anger at party leader Mr Corbyn and his allies after the election defeat.

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."

But Mr Corbyn's supporters insisted Brexit was to blame for Labour's loss. Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said: "I think on the policy issues we won the argument but we literally couldn't break through Brexit."

Wansbeck MP Ian Lavery, the Labour chair, had consistently warned that backing a second referendum would damage Labour. He repeated this view after the results were announced.

Mr Corbyn said he would stand down - but not straightaway.

Instead, he insisted he would discuss with the party how to ensure there was a "process of reflection", adding: "I will lead the party during this period to ensure this discussion takes place."

It's unclear how long he hopes to remain as leader. Whatever Mr Corjonathan byn does, the battle to replace him effectively begins immediately.

Sir Keir Starmer, the Shadow Brexit Secretary who may lead Labour in a more moderate direction, is seen as the favourite to replace him. Other favourites include Shadow Business Secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey and Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner.

Election results in Scotland and Northern Ireland suggest the future of the United Kingdom is uncertain.

The pro-independence SNP made a series of gains in Scotland, with leader Nicola Sturgeon declaring that she has a "renewed, refreshed and strengthened" mandate for a second vote on Scottish independence.

And in Northern Ireland, the DUP - the party determined to keep Northern Ireland within the Union - had a disastrous result with deputy leader Nigel Dodds losing his seat in an unprecedented defeat to Sinn Fein's John Finucane. …

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