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LABOUR today acknowledged that its huge general election losses were down to its “neutral” stance on Brexit.
A string of Leave-voting Labour strongholds fell to the Tories for the first time since their inception, while Labour’s pro-Remain vote in some constituencies was split by the SNP and Liberal Democrats.
The shock results included pro-Brexit socialist MP Dennis Skinner losing his Bolsover seat, one that he had held for 49 years.
Jeremy Corbyn said he was “very sad” over the results and that he would not be leading Labour into another general election.
He said the general election results showing a Conservative majority of 80 were “disappointing” but that he has “pride” in the manifesto of progressive policies that his party put forward.
The Labour leader indicated that he will quit “in the early part of next year” after a “process of reflection” as he came under pressure from some Labour MPs to immediately stand down.
Mr Corbyn added: “This election was taken over ultimately by Brexit and we as a party represent people who voted both Remain and Leave.
“My whole strategy was to reach out beyond the Brexit divide to try and bring people together, because ultimately the country has to come together.”
Labour MP Margaret Hodge, who has long accused the party and Mr Corbyn of anti-semitism, denied that the defeat was due to Brexit and claiming the result represented the rejection of the entire socialist project under Mr Corbyn and his popularity ratings.
On the BBC Election programme, filmmaker Ken Loach said that Mr Corbyn had received “torrents of abuse” that were “off-the-scale” compared to other Labour leaders to tar him as a racist since day one of his leadership, which intensified ahead of elections.
Shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon also insisted that Labour mainly lost over Brexit.
He said: “In 2017 with the same leader and a similar manifesto we gained three million votes. What changed? This became a Brexit election.
“Winning back the voters we lost and rebuilding will require careful analysis. Just as it did when we lost five million votes from 1997-2010 by backing austerity and war.”
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