Jeremy Corbyn signals he won't stand down as Labour leader after painful Copeland by-election defeat

The Labour leader said he would continue his campaigning

Jon Stone
Political Correspondent
Friday 24 February 2017 11:35
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Jeremy Corbyn rejected suggestions that he should stand down
Jeremy Corbyn rejected suggestions that he should stand down

Jeremy Corbyn has rejected any suggestion that he should stand down as Labour leader following a painful result for his party at the Copeland by-election.

Labour lost the Cumbria seat to the Conservatives despite holding it since its creation in 1983. It is very rare for a governing party to win a seat off an opposition party at a by-election.

The Labour leader was asked on the morning of the results whether he should "fall on his sword" following the set-back.

“I was elected to lead this party, I was elected to oppose austerity and to oppose the redistribution of wealth in the wrong direction, which is what this Government is doing. We’ll continue our campaigning work on the NHS, on social care on housing,” he said.

Mr Corbyn said he was "very disappointed" when he found out the result.

Asked at a press conference whether the problem with Labour was him, Mr Corbyn replied simply: “No. Thank you for your question”

The party held onto a second seat in Stoke despite a challenge from Ukip, though it was returned with a reduced share of the vote.

Labour MPs – including many longtime critics – have refrained from publicly calling on Mr Corbyn to quit following the result.

London Assembly member Tom Copley however tweeted that "a decent, honourable man would see the damage he is causing and resign the Labour leadership rather than squatting in the Leader's office".

Mr Corbyn won a second leadership contest less than six months ago with an increased majority, following a challenge by centrist MPs Angela Eagle and Owen Smith.

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