Conservatives Oust Labour in Copland By-Election

The Copeland by-election has been won by the Conservative party, beating Labour by over 2,100 votes.

The Conservative’s Trudy Harrison took 13,748. Labour took 11,601 votes.

Other parties included the Liberal Democrats on 2,252, and UKIP on 2,025.

The race in the Cumbria seat was called after Labour MP and prominent critic of far-left Labour Jeremy Corbyn Jamie Reed resigned his seat in order to pursue a new career in the nuclear industry.

Thousands of people in the area are employed in the nuclear industry, and Mr. Corbyn has a long record of campaigning against nuclear power.

A strong 62 per cent of the constituency also voted to leave the European Union (EU) in last year’s Brexit referendum.

Labour has held the Copeland seat since its inception, but their share of the vote has fallen in every election since it achieved 58.2 per cent of the vote in 1997 with Tony Blair as party leader.

They won 42.3 per cent of votes in the 2015 General Election with Jamie Reed as their candidate, 6.5 percentage points above the Tories’ share of 35.8 per cent.

However, with Labour divided over Mr. Corbyn’s leadership and Brexit, the bookies strongly suggesting it would fall to the Conservatives this time.

The Tories were confident of victory from the beginning, with Theresa May making a high-profile visit to the constituency earlier this month.

Their victory makes them the first sitting Government to take a seat off the opposition in a by-election since 1982.

Other key issues in the largely rural constituency include healthcare, transport and infrastructure.

The victory for the Conservative is likely to reignite calls for Mr. Corbyn to stand down as Labour leader, possibly triggering a third leadership challenge for the party.


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