Tag Archives: copeland

Copeland and Stoke say a little about party politics but a lot about the state of the country

On Thursday, 52000 people went to the polls in Copeland and Stoke on Trent Central to elect their new MPs. Both seats were previously held by Labour. Labour held onto Stoke, but were beaten by the Conservatives in Copeland. People are using these results in order to speculate wildly about the future of various political parties. Labour holding Stoke is a good sign. Labour losing Copeland means Corbyn should resign. Conservatives taking Copeland is a sign of support for May’s hard Brexit. Everyone is very happy that Nuttall lost. And so on.

However, looking at the voting data available, I think there are two far more important warnings to be taken from these results. We need to look at the numbers, which I’ll round out for the sake of easier reading. All stats are taken from Britain Elects so please check there for exact figures.

Firstly, a lot of voters are walking away from this vote unrepresented. In Stoke, Labour won by gaining 37.1% of the vote. In Copeland, Conservatives took 44.3% of the vote. This means that 62.9% and 55.7% of the people who voted are not being represented by the person they wanted. That translates into roughly 30,000 people across two constituencies, against only 21,000 who did get what they wanted.

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Stoke and Copeland results show how far Lib Dems have come in two years

If the Stoke and Copeland by-elections had happened at any point in the last Parliament, the Liberal Democrats would have been squeezed until our pips squeaked. We’d certainly have lost our deposit as we did in both seats in the 2015 General Election in both seats.

The results showed how far we have come. Our vote more than doubled in both seats and we did well to avoid a squeeze into oblivion. In Copeland we pushed UKIP into fourth as that party’s voters clearly felt comfortable enough voting for Theresa May’s Brexit Britain Party.

In Stoke, you have to wonder how much …

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Tim Farron says thanks for by-election help

Tim Farron has thanked members and supporters  for their hard work in the Stoke-on-Trent Central and Copeland by-elections. In an email tonight, he said:

The polls are now closed for by-elections in both Stoke-on-Trent Central and Copeland.

Members from all over Britain have volunteered, donated and cheered on these two upstart campaigns and I’m so grateful for everything that you’ve done.

We can be proud of the campaigns that Rebecca Hanson in Copeland and Dr Zulfiqar Ali in Stoke-on-Trent have fought – right up to their work today getting our vote out in storm force wind and rain.

In the face of strong opposition, they have stood up for our values and fought for every single vote; we couldn’t have asked any more of them.

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Come to Copeland

We have had a busy few days here in the Copeland by-election campaign. Across this enormous constituency that stretches from Keswick in the north-east, across fells and lakes to the port of Whitehaven, and then down the coast past St Bees and Sellafield, all the way down to Millom in the South, and then back up across Eskdale and Wasdale including the majesty of Scafell Pike, the highest peak in England, the Lib Dem fightback has been in action.

Our excellent candidate Rebecca Hanson has grabbed the moment; demonstrating to local, regional and national media her deep knowledge of key local issues. The threat that the Tories’ hard Brexit brings to a range of industries; nuclear, hospitality, and farming.  The problems of the NHS, not just the winter crisis experienced across the country, but also the so called ‘success regime’ – NHS reorganisation in West Cumbria – which could force women in labour to travel for more than 90 minutes to get to a maternity unit. As a former teacher and teacher-trainer Rebecca understands the life opportunities provided by good education in all schools. She has been campaigning alongside parents at Whitehaven school for more than a year, demanding action from the Government to replace the failing academy sponsor at Whitehaven Academy.

This seat has been Labour for the past 82 years. Yet on the streets we hear again and again repeated criticism of public services and the actions and inactions of Copeland District Council. Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour are no longer the natural choice of these disaffected voters. They are yearning for a credible new choice. UKIP are doing little here, their efforts diverted to Stoke to support Paul Nuttall’s attempts to come a poor third… Which leaves Theresa May’s hard Brexit Tories – this shouldn’t be their seat. Across the villages and farms of Copeland and Allerdale Lib Dem volunteers have gone out into areas which haven’t seen a Focus for a decade or more, and engaged local voters reminding them of the damaging effects of a hard Brexit, and that a Conservative victory would not be good for this constituency and the public services upon which local people depend.

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Farron campaigns in Copeland and Stoke-on-Trent

Tim Farron has been campaigning for our by-election candidates, Rebecca Hanson in Copeland and Dr Zulfiqar Ali in Stoke-on Trent Central.

His day started in Keswick where he and Rebecca met a Flood Action Group:

From  the Times and Star reports:

The Westmorland and Lonsdale MP believes that Mrs Hanson is an “astonishingly good” candidate for Copeland.

He said: “Her track record for campaigning on health service issues is known across the constituency and is known for being utterly authentic.

“This is not someone who is jumping on the bandwagon.

“What you get in Rebecca is someone who fights the corner of all the Copeland communities and makes clear that they may be beautiful places but they are also tough places where there is real need.

“We are also the only party fighting against a hard Brexit and the move out of the single market that wasn’t on the ballot paper.

“The majority of British people wanted to be in the single market so to do that without consulting them is just wrong.”

Mrs Hanson expects the campaign to ramp up over the weekend ahead of the by-election next Thursday.

She said: “I’ve loved every single second of it so far.

“I love building democracy, communicating with people and coming to people who are feeling disillusioned at politics and democracy because when I talk to people all that melts away.

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Campaigning in Copeland

In Copeland we’re energetically getting on with promoting our excellent candidate, Rebecca Hanson in the by-election which takes place on 23 February. Willing helpers are flocking to this huge constituency. There is immense Facebook support, but the pleasures of reaching out to the towns and villages between the fells and the sea are considerable, so we invite many more of you to come to share them with us in the next, crucial, ten days.

Yesterday morning Roger Putnam, Vice-Chair of our Copeland and Workington Executive, and I managed to beat the rain, leafletting in Seascale in the south-west of the constituency under only a slight drizzle. This was our third visit to Seascale, delivering the Health Facilities survey, a second  leaflet, and now the tabloid glossy proclaiming, Rebecca Hanson and the Liberal Democrats. Fighting to protect local jobs from hard Brexit, improve local schools and safeguard our NHS.

A lone Tory was out at the same time, delivering an eight-page A4 breezily entitled Cumbria View, of uncertain purpose. As with the Labour Party here, it feels as if the Conservatives are relying on past loyalties for their votes. Well, we aim to bring the focus firmly into the present. For a start, Rebecca seems to be winning the leaflet contest; the house porches blossomed with orange leaflets, the freepost delivery having just arrived as well.

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Sal Brinton and Rebecca Hanson meet health workers in Copeland

Party President Sal Brinton has been to Copeland to campaign with our by-election candidate Rebecca Hanson. They met with local health workers to hear about their concerns.

From the News and Star:

Mrs Hanson said that the meeting – held at Keswick’s Quaker Meeting House – also allowed the health leaders to truthfully express their own opinions on the situation in Copeland.

They don’t get heard on any of this because they’re suffocated with people from elsewhere trying to impose structural change on them that won’t work and won’t make any sense in any way,” she added. “I’d created sessions specifically because I know this spirit and I know it could emerge and it was just lovely to see.

“They were going into some really technical detail about the kind of schemes they’re trying to get approval for that would improve and lead to better training for multi-skilled consultants.

She knew some of the people and bodies that they’re working with, so she was able to make a connection and will be talking to those people, including Norman Lamb.”

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