Lost Labour seat to heap more pressure on Corbyn

It was also the first time since 1982 that a governing party had won a Commons seat from the Opposition.

The Conservatives, who had been bookmakers favourites ahead of the vote, won by a margin of more than 2,000 votes from Labour.

After months of vast polling leads over Labour, the Prime Minister yesterday received proof at the ballot box of her advantage over Jeremy Corbyn.

"I think that, and the combination of Jeremy Corbyn's views on nuclear in an area which is so dependent on Sellafield and on Moorside, contributed to my win tonight".

Labour earlier held Stoke-on-Trent Central after seeing off a concerted challenge from Ukip leader Paul Nuttall.

The seat is highly representative of its core membership but at one point UKIP's Paul Nuttall was the favourite to win over Labour - that is huge.

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell told Sky News the loss took place in "very unique circumstances, " adding "now, you'll see the Labour Party united and the Conservative Party ripping themselves apart over the Brexit negotiations".

"We should not attempt to insult anyone's intelligence by claiming it is anything other than that", he told the BBC.

Asked by reporters on Friday whether he accepted that Labour's problems were his fault, Mr Corbyn said simply: "No".

Neither of the two resigning MPs directly attacked Jeremy Corbyn's leadership in their resignation letters, but both have been outspoken critics of the direction he was taking.

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John Woodcock, the Labour MP for neighbouring Barrow and Furness, said the result was "a disaster". Labour's Gillian Troughton was left trailing on 11,601.

"We did not get the message across that the Labour party was pro-civil nuclear", he said afterwards.

But despite the Tories' internal divisions over Brexit, they still overhauled Labour's majority in Copeland, Cumbria.

But arguably, it was only because Nuttall self-sabotaged himself - without even knowing about it, through a campaign that showcased a litany of scandals - that allowed Labour to recoup some its votes. However, under Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Party has been losing support and struggling to remain relevant in the national debate.

But the real fight to be the party of government remains between Labour and the Tories, who improved their vote share in both the Copeland and Stoke contests.

She said May's local elections in England, Scotland and Wales are now "absolutely vital" as Labour under Mr Corbyn pose a "danger" to local services.

Voters deserted the party in droves as it lost a seat to the Tories which it had held since 1935.

Setting out the measures the Government has taken already on social care, the Prime Minister said that "more money is not the only answer" but that the Government also "recognise the need for far-reaching reform to encourage high standards across the whole country".

Before we go nattering on about history and political repercussions, let's cover the basics: a by-election is a system for filling seats which have become vacant in between general elections.

  • Ismael Montgomery