Labour candidate for Copeland by-election is not a massive fan of Jeremy Corbyn. pic.twitter.com/0EP91ycFjw
— Jim Waterson (@jimwaterson) January 19, 2017
Big developments tonight in the two by-elections where LAB is defending seats where the sitting MPs are standing down to pursue other careers.
According to Kevin Schofield of PoiticsHome Labour is planning to hold the two contests on the same day – something that always seemed likely.
It had been thought that the party would have waited until My 4th – when elections are taking place in many parts of the country and we have the first mayoral elections for George Osbornes’s new combined authorities. According to the report that plan has now been ruled out.
“..party strategists now believe they have a better chance of holding both seats if they mount short campaigns.
Copeland MP Mr Reed will formally stand down on 31 January to take up a job in the nuclear industry, while Mr Hunt will quit before the weekend to become the new director of the Victoria and Albert Museum…”
The other development is that the Corbyn-supporter on the LAB Copeland short-list has not been chosen – instead the job of seeking to become the seat’s next MP has gone to Councillor Gillian Troughton some of whose Tweets on her leader are featured above.
Her selection means that every single by-election LAB nominee in a seat being defended since Corbyn got the job has gone to a non-Corbyn supporter.
Clearly in Copeland there is going to be an issue with the LAB leader’s widely reported position on nuclear power which the Tories have already got their teeth into.
The husband of the Lib Dem choice in Copeland, Rebecca Benson, is a nuclear engineer.
The worry for Labour is that it is under severe pressure in both Stoke and Copeland. UKIP’s new leader, Paul Nuttall is running on Stoke Central where the party came 2nd in 2015.