Jeremy Corbyn has been accused of failing to own up to the party’s historic defeat in last week’s election by one of his top team.

The Labour leader said sorry to a meeting of Labour MPs for the defeat, saying “I take responsibility.”

But he angered some MPs by saying the party must examine “long term causes” for the defeat.

One MP said colleagues “groaned” when he told them the campaign had “changed the debate”.

And a member of the Shadow Cabinet told the Mirror: “He doesn’t get it. He had a chance to own up to his responsibility for the defeat and he bottled it.

“What little respect he had, he has totally lost.”

According to a spokesman, Mr Corbyn said: “I am very sorry for the result for which I take responsibility.

“I will continue to lead the party until a new leader is elected. I want us to have the smoothest possible transition for the sake of the party as a whole and for those Labour mayors and councillors who are up for re-election in May.

“Whoever the next leader is, they will need the party to come together for those elections and to oppose Boris Johnson ’s Conservatives.”

But he went on to blame the media for “amplifying” the Tories’ campaign.

And he said: “We must now listen to those lifelong Labour voters who we’ve lost. I believe that Brexit was a major - although not the only - reason for their loss of trust in us.”

In the meeting, former Shadow Minister Rachel Reeves reportedly told Mr Corbyn: "The biggest drag on our vote was you.”

The Manchester Central MP summed up the frustrations of many MPs on her way into the meeting, when she told waiting journalists:“We are completely irrelevant what are you all doing here?”

PLP Chair Jon Cryer opened the meeting with tributes to defeated MPs Ruth Smeeth and Dennis Skinner. 

Top Corbyn ally and newly elected MP Claudia Webbe provided light relief when she told the room “we have a lot to celebrate”. 

MPs cheered once during her impassioned defence of the party’s campaign, when she said “we lost the election”. 

Labour MPs returning to Westminster today were coming to terms with the party’s defeat - the worst since 1935.

One Shadow Cabinet Minister from a Brexit-backing constituency said: “What the f*** do we do now?”

They suggested a “Michael Howard-type figure” to steer the party through the next couple of years.

Former Home Secretary Mr Howard led the Conservatives from 2003 to 2005 after the Tories dumped Iain Duncan Smith and before they chose David Cameron as their new leader.

Mr Howard, now Lord Howard, helped slash the Labour majority in 2005, paving the way for Mr Cameron to become PM five years later.

A second MP in a Leave-voting area said the party needed a “Michael Howard” figure to oversee its transformation back to being electable - but feared the plan “wouldn’t fly”.

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Another hit out at the choice facing MPs, saying none of the candidates fits the bill.

They suggested Labour could benefit from picking someone who knows how to win a marginal seat.

Another MP said the next leader should not be “anyone associated with the current regime”.

Ousted backbencher Mary Creagh, who lost her Wakefield seat to the Tories, was seen confronting Mr Corbyn after returning to Parliament to clear her office.

She said she gave him “the hair dryer treatment”.