Tories topple Labour stronghold; Corbyn in the dock again

That she is able to do so, shows that the Prime Minister has successfully renewed the Conservative brand, and is building the foundations for a thumping victory in 2020.

The Conservatives captured the west Cumbrian seat for the first time in more than 80 years, reversing the traditional pattern of governing parties losing by-elections while in office.

"It's been very clear talking to people throughout this campaign that Jeremy Corbyn doesn't represent them", said Harrison in her Copeland victory speech.

The veteran MP for Walsall North stated: "The party is faced with the problem of a leader who is simply not acceptable to a large number of people who would normally vote Labour". The constituency is heavily dependent on the Sellafield reprocessing plant, and hopes to welcome the new Moorside nuclear power station.

The Labour leader was given some respite, however, as Labour held off a Ukip challenge to retain Stoke-on-Trent Central.

While May will be happy to take credit for the success, the winning candidate, Trudy Harrison, attributed it to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

"We are on course for a historic and catastrophic defeat and that will have very serious consequences for all of the communities that we represent", he added.

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell claimed that the nuclear issue was "a unique" factor, and that Blair's intervention and the failed "coup" attempt by Labour MPs previous year were partly to blame.

"As Napoleon might have said after Waterloo", the response from the former minister to comments from Mr Corbyn's inner circle explaining the party's poor performance in the polls. Prepare to be told that this defeat is not Jeremy Corbyn's fault, but behind the spin, Corbyn's misjudgements are the cause of Labour's woes.

How does the #CopelandByElection vote share in 2017 compare to the 2015 general election?

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"We are in a hard period over these last 20 months because of these leadership challenges and the divisions that have been sown within our party", said McDonnell.

This defeat is the latest loss taken by Labour Party in what has been a stunning collapse of the party over the past decade.

Instead, many MPs, including some on the left of the party, are increasingly hopeful that he will decide within the next year that the time has come to walk.

In the northern constituency of Copeland, the Labour Party suffered a painful blow at the hands of Labour. Voters actively want to get to the polls to give Labour a kicking now.

"They say half a loaf may be better than none but in Labour's case, I'm not so sure", said Tim Bale, professor of politics at Queen Mary, University of London.

Labour lost the Copeland by-election to the Conservatives after hold the seat and its predecessors since the 1930s.

He said: "The Copeland meltdown is at Len McCluskey's door".

The Labour Party is anxious about Theresa May's intention of leading a hard Brexit.

That prompted Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell to boast: "We've turned back the tide, and I think we've defeated quite a risky form of politics".

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