Both Paul Nuttall and Jeremy Corbyn faced setbacks last night as Tories won the seat in Copeland, and Labour held off a challenge from UKIP to keep its seat in Stoke-on-Trent.
In Copeland: Trudy Harrison won with 13,748 votes, while Labour’s Gillian Troughton got 11,601 votes.
Copeland was an unmitigated disaster for Corbyn since the party has held that seat since 1935.
In Stoke: Labour’s Gareth Snell won with 7,853 votes, while UKIP leader Paul Nuttall got 5,233 votes.
Nuttall was so annoyed at losing that he walked out without even a concession speech.
Labour’s Gareth Snell said last night:
To those who came to sow hatred & division in Stoke, I have one simple message, you have failed.
The results were affected by the EU Referendum, but not in the way Labour expected.
In both constituencies, the Lib Dem share of the vote went up, as Remain voters flocked to the only party offering clear opposition to Brexit.
Professor John Curtice pointed out last night:
Labour seems to have decided in recent weeks that its first priority is to stave off the threat from Ukip to its traditional working-class vote, much of which supposedly voted to leave in the EU referendum.
But in so doing it seems to have forgotten (or not realised) that most of those who voted Labour in 2015 – including those living in Labour seats in the North and the Midlands – backed remain. The party is thus at greater risk of losing votes to the pro-remain Liberal Democrats than to pro-Brexit Ukip.
Labour need to urgently realise its pro-Brexit stance is losing them core voters too