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  1. ITV Report

Jeremy Corbyn denies being to blame for Labour's defeat insisting Brexit 'took over'

  • Video report by ITV News Political Correspondent Libby Wiener

Jeremy Corbyn has denied he was at the heart of Labour's crushing election defeat.

In his first major interview since he saw a humbling night for his candidates, he said he was "very sad" about the result - but warned many areas in the country would continue to suffer under the Conservatives.

The Labour leader said the election was "taken over" by Brexit - and that many had voted for Brexit again through Conservative candidates.

When asked whether he was part of the problem, Mr Corbyn said he "had done everything I could to lead this party" but he had received more personal abuse by many areas of the media.

He said his radical and progressive manifesto was one to be proud of.

Mr Corbyn has already said he will not lead the party into another election and has indicated he will quit as Labour leader in the early part of next year.

When asked what went wrong, Mr Corbyn said: "Those in Leave areas in some numbers voted for Brexit or Conservative candidates, which means we lost a number of seats and we didn't make the gains I hoped we could have done, particularly in the Midlands and Yorkshire and the north."

He added: "Of course, I take responsibility for putting the manifesto forward, but I have to say, the manifesto was universally supported, throughout our party and throughout our movement."

He was asked whether the election spelled the end of Corbynism and Corbynomics.

"It's not Corbynism, there's no such thing as Corbynism, there is socialism, there is social justice, there are radical manifestos," he said.

"The issue that dominated this election, ultimately, was Brexit," he said.

"The prime minister said he was going to get Brexit sorted - it was a mirage of nonsense."

"I did everything I possibly could to win this election and to bridge this divide between those who voted Leave and those who voted Remain," he said.

On the influence of Momentum, the grassroots support network that was instrumental in seeing Corbyn take over the leadership, he said they were a group of activists who were committed to growing community action and were a healthy addition to the party.

Some - such as former Labour minister Alan Johnson - have called for Momentum to be kicked out of the party.

But Mr Corbyn said a great number of candidates would be great for the support they received from Momentum activists.

He again insisted he was subjected to the most abuse and personal attacks of any leader in the mainstream media.

"If you analyse the coverage that's made of the Labour Party, if you analyse the coverage that's made of me... you're looking at in the 80% and above of negative, hostile and frankly downright abuse of individuals and character assassination and constant attacks on me and my family and others.

"I did everything I possibly could to win this election and to bridge this divide between those who voted Leave and those who voted Remain," he said.

"I hope the history books will say that he's somebody who did campaign to Remain," he said.

When asked about his timetable to leave as leader, Mr Corbyn said: "The National Executive will have to meet, of course, in the very near future and it is up to them. It will be in the early part of next year."

Union heavyweight Len McCluskey, however, said after a "defeat of this scale" there would be a period of reflection and "no doubt recrimination".

Mr McCluskey, general secretary of Unison, said the NEC would be meeting in the new year and a schedule to launch the hunt for the next leader would begin.