Jeremy Corbyn was accused of being in denial yesterday after issuing a Labour recruitment video in which he says his manifesto had been “popular”. He claimed to “have won the arguments” and “inspired millions to engage in politics”.
While he said he took “full responsibility for the result”, he has refused repeated calls from his own party to stand down, instead blaming Brexit for his defeat. He said: “Ultimately the divisions over Brexit were too great for us to overcome.” Despite presiding over a party riven by episodes of anti-Semitism, he boasted of having never sunk into the gutter. And he even claimed that his renationalisation plans had been “popular”, despite being rejected even in Labour heartlands.
Mr Corbyn concluded: “To those who feel disheartened and feel like giving up, I say, ‘Stay and fight for a better society’.
“To those who have not yet joined us I say, ‘Join the Labour Party today. Be part of the resistance to Boris Johnson and the politics of fear’.”
But Tory MP and ex-Armed Forces minister Mark Francois said: “Half of me would like Jeremy Corbyn to remain Labour leader for the next 40 years.
“But the other half realises that for the sake of our democracy he should resign immediately.”
In a Sunday newspaper, Mr Corbyn also wrote of his pride in having “rewritten the terms of political debate”.
He added: “But I regret that we did not succeed in converting that into a parliamentary majority for change.”
Labour MP John Spellar tweeted mockingly: “Clearly the play was a success, but the audience was a failure!”
Mr Corbyn said that he will not fight another election, but has not said when he will quit as he battles to ensure the hard-Left remains in control of the party.
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell took the defeat “on the chin”.
He told The Andrew Marr Show: “I own this disaster so I apologise to all those wonderful Labour MPs who have lost their seats and who worked so hard.”