Labour 'heading for worst defeat since 1930s', senior party figure says

Theresa May has described the Conservative by-election win as an "astounding" victory that shows her government "is working for everyone".

Mr Lewis was speaking after the Conservatives won Copeland, which had been held by Labour since 1935, in the first by-election gain by a governing party since 1982.

Trudy Harrison's achievement of turning a 2,500 Labour lead into a Tory majority of more than 2,000 is one the Conservatives insist has not been matched since 1878.

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

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".

Emily Thornberry told Sky News that "fake news" about Jeremy Corbyn's views on nuclear power had cost Labour.

Labour did, however, hold its seat in Stoke-on-Trent in the English Midlands, dealing a serious blow to the right-wing United Kingdom Independence Party, whose leader Paul Nuttall had mounted a high-profile bid for the seat only months after becoming head of the party in November. But it was the result in Copeland, where they were hit by a 6 per cent swing to Theresa May's Tories, that left the party reeling.

Labour supporting Daily Mirror newspaper was also scathing towards the result in Copeland.

Mr Corbyn was defiant when he was asked whether he should "fall on his sword" following the loss of Copeland.

"The blame for these results does not lie exclusively with Jeremy Corbyn, but he must take responsibility for what happens next".

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"Regardless of Brexit, Labour is and will remain one of the main actors in the European progressive family", Pittella stressed after the meeting.

Labour did better by holding on to Stoke-on-Trent, where it defeated a challenge from Ukip.

"Two years ago at the last election that had collapsed down to about 4% more than we got yesterday". Voters actively want to get to the polls to give Labour a kicking now. In Copeland, the Ukip challenge was far less effective and the rightwing vote went overwhelmingly to the Tories, and Labour lost.

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.

Jeremy Corbyn celebrates his victory following the announcement of the victor in the Labour leadership contest between him and Owen Smith at the ACC Liverpool.

Baroness Smith also ridiculed claims by some Labour frontbenchers who tried to play down the significance of the Copeland result, and rejected suggestions that Tony Blair had undermined the party's performance with critical remarks about Corbyn.

More significantly, the by-elections indicate that Mr Corbyn, an old party operative who lives in an expensive suburb of the British capital, holds no attraction for core Labour voters, who are largely concentrated in the working-class central and northern regions.

He told journalists at the election count in the early hours of Friday that he was "not going anywhere".

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

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