The Tory victory in Copeland is a sure sign of the public’s endorsement of Theresa May’s brand of Conservatism, and a brutal rejection of Corbynism, says Peter Bingle.

I suspect there was much rejoicing in the early hours at Number 10 as the Copeland result was announced. To win a seat from the Labour Party in the North of England was (without any exaggeration) sensational, the more so after a truly appalling Labour campaign. I trust there will be no more ‘babies will die’ NHS scares in future campaigns.

While accepting that Copeland is a constituency with distinct local factors, most noticeably Sellafield, the Tory victory nonetheless can be interpreted as an endorsement of the PM’s brand of Conservatism and a brutal rejection of everything that Jeremy Corbyn stands for. It is worth noting that the turnout was a very respectable 51 per cent.

The Copeland result shows that with the right narrative and policy agenda a Tory revival in the North of England is now very possible (perhaps even probable) at the next general election. There will be many Northern Labour MPs who didn’t sleep very well last night.

The voting figures in Copeland also showed that there was no ‘Farron’ impact, despite him representing a Cumbrian constituency. Furthermore, it proved conclusively that there is no Lib Dem surge following the Brexit result. Talk of a revival now looks more than a little silly.

The Stoke result will be grasped by Corbyn and his supporters as a validation of his leadership. Of course, it was nothing of the sort. The only noticeable thing to come out of this by-election was the truly awful campaign run by UKIP. Paul Nuttall’s election as UKIP leader worried many Labour MPs in northern seats. They no longer need to worry about being beaten by UKIP. They need to worry much more about being beaten by a resurgent Tory Party. For the time being at least UKIP no longer poses a threat to anybody!

Theresa May will be delighted about the Copeland result. Her despatching of the posh boys and her embracing of the grammar school generation (combined with Nick Timothy’s Birmingham world view) is clearly resonating with the electorate. The Tories can now realistically look at achieving a polling result in the early to mid-forties at the next election. Armageddon follows for Labour candidates in constituencies across the country as the Tory Party once again becomes the only true national party.

The Tories should be very grateful to the former Copeland MP and Corbyn critic Jamie Reed. His resignation has helped set the Tories on course for a historic rout of the Labour Party whenever the next election is held. I expect he slept very well last night!

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