Jeremy Corbyn writes to losing Labour candidates – but doesn’t say sorry

The belated message to those who lost seats and failed to win targets is more likely to reignite ill feeling than quell it.

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Is sorry the hardest word for Jeremy Corbyn? The Labour leader has written to his party’s parliamentary candidates in the wake of last week’s election defeat – but those who want an apology will be disappointed.

In a round-robin email sent to those who stood for Labour on 12 December – 60 of whom lost their seats – Corbyn said he took full responsibility for the party’s electoral humbling but went on to praise its manifesto and campaign.

The letter is unlikely to quell the anger of many of its recipients or, indeed, surviving MPs. Several losing candidates have complained that they had heard nothing from Labour HQ in the wake of their defeats. With Corbyn’s impersonal pro forma coming a week after polling day – and failing to apologise explicitly – this is not the message they had wanted. It does not even address the candidates by name.

Though Corbyn has promised to write to each candidate personally, that will come as too little too late. Other parties, meanwhile, have taken the opposite approach: losing Liberal Democrats have already had personal signed letters from Sal Brinton, the party’s president.

Patrick Maguire was political correspondent at the New Statesman.

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