UK Labour Party by-election defeat prompts new moves against Corbyn
25 February 2017
The British Labour Party’s loss to the ruling Conservatives in Thursday’s by-election for the Copeland constituency has been seized upon by Labour’s right wing to renew its campaign for the removal of the nominal “left” Jeremy Corbyn as party leader.
By-elections were held Thursday in the constituencies of Copeland, Cumbria and Stoke-on-Trent Central in Staffordshire. Both seats are in Labour’s “heartland” and have been held by the party for generations.
The by-elections were triggered by the resignation of two right-wing Labour MPs, Jamie Reed and Tristram Hunt, who have opposed Corbyn since his election as Labour leader in September 2015. Reed vacated the Copeland seat in order to take up a position at the local Sellafield nuclear decommissioning plant.
The Conservatives won Copeland with the biggest increase in vote share by a governing party at a by-election for more than 50 years. Trudy Harrison won with 13,748 votes (44.25 percent) to 11,601 for Labour’s Gillian Troughton, an increase in the vote share for the Tories of more than 8 percent and a fall in Labour’s of nearly 5 percent.
The Liberal Democrats came in third with 2,252 votes (7.25 percent) and the far-right UK Independence Party (UKIP) finished fourth with 2,025 (6.52 percent), a decline of 9 percent from its 2015 General Election result. Turnout was 31,068 (51.27 percent), down 12.53 percent from 2015.
Labour won Stoke-on-Trent Central, with Gareth Snell receiving 7,853 votes (37 percent). His closest challenger, Paul Nuttall, the leader of UKIP, received 5,233 votes (24.7 percent), narrowly besting the Tories, who finished third with 24.4 percent of the vote. Labour’s vote…