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It’s a ‘bit rich’ to blame me for Labour losses, says Jeremy Corbyn

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn - Credit: PA

Jeremy Corbyn has said it is a “bit rich” to blame him for Labour’s poor election performance as four of Sir Keir Starmer’s predecessors weighed in on the party’s woes.

The former Labour leader said it was “a bit weak” to suggest he is responsible for the losses in last week’s by-election in Hartlepool and local elections across England.

Labour has been in turmoil since the by-election defeat in Hartlepool and setbacks in council elections in England were followed by a botched reshuffle.

The results were a major setback for Sir Keir as he tries to recover the party from its general election defeat under Corbyn, which was its worst since 1935.

Corbyn, now sitting as an independent MP, told ITV News’s Calling Peston podcast: “I think it’s a bit rich to start blaming me for stuff that’s been done over the past year that I’ve had absolutely no part of whatsoever.

“I do think that dumping on somebody because they’re not there anymore is a bit weak really.”

He attributed some of the losses to “disillusioned Labour voters” heading to the Green Party because they feel “the opposition has not been strong enough against the government”.

“Do I take responsibility for it? No. Because we had a set of popular policies in the last manifesto,” he added.

Former Labour leader Tony Blair detailed his analysis of the left’s dilemma, saying the “old-fashioned economic message” of high taxation and a large state is “not particularly attractive”.

Turning his attention to Starmer, Blair said he is “struggling to break through with the public” as he described last week’s elections as “a major setback”.

“But the Labour Party won’t revive simply by a change of leader. It needs total deconstruction and reconstruction. Nothing less will do,” Blair wrote.

“At present, Labour expresses perfectly the progressive dilemma. Corbyn was radical but not sensible. Keir seems sensible but not radical. He lacks a compelling economic message.”