'Credible leadership' missing for Labour politicians in Yorkshire

Have your say

Yorkshire Labour politicians have taken swipes at Jeremy Corbyn as they lost their seats across the region overnight.

The Tories gained nine seats from Labour in Yorkshire, and while Labour top brass were keen to pin the blame on Brexit, outgoing MPs - as well as the ones who stayed - were more critical of their leader.

Jeremy Corbyn at his count in Islington. Photo: PA

Jeremy Corbyn at his count in Islington. Photo: PA

Caroline Flint, who despite backing Brexit lost her seat in Don Valley, said: “We’re going to hear the Corbynistas blame it on Brexit and the Labour uber-Remainers blaming Corbyn.

“Both are to blame for what looks like a terrible night for Labour. Both have taken for granted Labour’s heartlands. Sorry we couldn’t offer you a Labour Party you could trust.”

While Hilary Benn, who held on to his Leeds Central seat said people did not have confidence in Jeremy Corbyn's leadership.

He said: “Well, I think, very simply, for many voters, Brexit was the one thing that mattered and they voted accordingly.

"Secondly, 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.

"And thirdly, there were some parties who said we're not entirely sure you can do all the things you have promised."

He added: "At the same time, there were a lot of voters who were enthused by what we had to offer, particularly younger voters.

"So it's not about throwing all of that away - you have to have credible leadership to win people's trust and confidence because that's how you're able to form a government and then you can get on and try and create a fairer society."

Rachel Reeves, who was re-elected for Leeds West added: “The Labour Party needs to regain and rewin the trust of people who have turned away from us this evening and indeed turned away from us at the last four General Elections.”

She added: “We need to learn those lessons because if we don’t we are letting down the most vulnerable in society.”

But others defended their leader, Richard Burgon - on winning his Leeds East seat - said: “I want to pay tribute to an honourable, decent man who has dedicated his life to public service. I want to pay tribute to a friend and colleague, the leader of the Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn.”

Corbyn defended his "extremely popular" policies and blamed Brexit for Labour's devastating defeat as he announced he would stand down as leader after overseeing a "period of reflection".

With the Tories expected to cruise to a comfortable majority, a deflated Mr Corbyn said it had been a "very disappointing night", with support crumbling in former Labour heartlands.

Mr Corbyn acknowledged that he had to leave Labour's helm after suffering a second General Election defeat as he criticised media "attacks" towards himself, his family and the party.

"I want to also make it clear that I will not lead the party in any future general election campaign," he said as he accepted victory in his Islington North constituency.

"I will discuss with our party to ensure there is a process now of reflection on this result and on the policies that the party will take going forward.

"And I will lead the party during that period to ensure that discussion takes place and we move on into the future."