On Friday, The Conservative Party secured an unprecedented victory by winning the Copeland by-election. A seat which has been retained by the Labour Party since 1935. Losing a seat that has been kept in Labour control for more than 80 years will inevitably add to further criticism over Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the party.
Tory MP Trudy Harrison won with 13,748 votes to Labour’s Gillian Troughton’s 11,601 votes.
During her victory address in Copeland, Harrison said: “It’s been very clear talking to people throughout this campaign that Jeremy Corbyn doesn’t represent them.”
“They want a party which is on the side of ordinary working people, which will respect the way we voted in the referendum and which will build a country which represents everyone. That’s why they voted for me tonight,” Harrison added.
In response to Labour losing the seat, Corbyn stated that their message “was not enough” to win in Copeland.
The Copeland by-election has been hailed by many as a landmark victory for the Conservative Party. It is the first time since 1982, that a governing party has taken a seat from an opposition party. This is a furthermore achievement for the party, as they have been in government during a seven-year period of austerity measures.
It wasn’t all doom and gloom for the Labour Party, as they managed to retain the Stoke-on-Trent seat which the UK Independence Party (UKIP) failed to overturn, even though over 70% of the city’s voters backed Brexit during last year’s EU referendum. A fact that UKIP tried to take advantage of in the by-election. They were wrong.
UKIP however, insist that the Stoke-on-Trent seat was low on their target list.
Labour MP Gareth Snell retained the Stoke-on-Trent seat with 7,853 votes against UKIP party leader Paul Nuttall who took second place with 5,233 votes.
In his victory speech, Snell said that voters had “chosen the politics of hope over the politics of fear”.
Snell went on to add, “This city will not allow ourselves to be defined by last year’s referendum and we will not allow ourselves to be divided by the result.”
Jeremy Corbyn hailed the victory in Stoke as a “decisive rejection of UKIP’s policy of division and dishonesty.”
After the election result, UKIP leader Mr Nuttall addressed journalists stating that his party’s “time would come.”
“There’s a lot more to come from us. We are not going anywhere, I’m not going anywhere,” He added.
The result of the by-election mean that the government’s majority is now 12. The same majority number it was straight after the general election, the new Conservative seat make up for the seat the Tories lost to the Liberal Democrats in the Richmond Park by-election.