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Jeremy Corbyn is not the cause of Labour's woes, says Norwich MP

Jeremy Corbyn is not the cause of Labour's woes, says Norwich MP”

Theresa May's ruling Conservative Party won a stunning by-election victory Friday, taking a House of Commons seat held by the main opposition Labour Party since 1935.

In a hammer blow to Mr Corbyn's leadership, the Tory candidate Trudy Harrison achieved a 6.7 per cent swing from Labour to win the seat by 2,147 votes.

The result revived demands that party leader Jeremy Corbyn resign and strengthened the position of Prime Minister Theresa May. In one earlier interview Corbyn repeatedly failed to give a firm commitment to building a new nuclear power station in the constituency at Moorside, which could provide 20,000 jobs.

Gareth Snell saw Labour's majority shrink in Stoke (Joe Giddens/PA)Labour's share of the vote in Stoke-on-Trent Central has nearly halved since 1997. But Mr Corbyn may have saved his post for the moment, with a win for Labour in another by-election this week when it saw off a challenge from the UK Independence Party (Ukip), a nationalist, anti-immigrant movement.

Corbyn has a task ahead to convince his MPs and the electorate that he is the right man to take the party into the next general election.

Matthew Goodwin, a politics professor at the University of Kent, told USA TODAY: "Under normal circumstances we would expect to see the main opposition party score gains at parliamentary by-elections, increasing their support and mounting a serious challenge to the incumbent government".

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In the case of Copeland for example, Labour MP Jamie Reed resigned from his office in December past year.

Asked whether he might be the problem, Mr Corbyn said: "No".

But it would be a courageous MP who made a decision to take on Mr Corbyn yet again, even after the stunning defeat in Copeland.

In Copeland, it is retaining voters from the general election at a rate of 65 per cent - in the Oldham vote, that rate was around 80 per cent.

"We have said with one voice that hatred and bigotry are not welcome here".

"Labour's councillors now dance to the tune of the militant unions and Momentum's hard-left activists, facing threats of candidate de-selection if they don't".

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Labour had held both seats since their creation.

Elsewhere, in Stoke, Labour's Gareth Snell won with a reduced majority of 2,620 over nearest rivals UKIP - but it's the Copeland result which has really turned heads.

"The task for the Labour Party, from the leadership and shadow cabinet to the membership, is to unite now to deliver hope that we can have a better, fairer Britain".

He said: "I was elected to lead this party, I was elected to oppose austerity and to oppose the redistribution of wealth in the wrong direction, which is what this Government is doing".

Labour could reconnect with voters if it stressed its own policies backing Trident and nuclear power, rather than Corbyn's personal views on both, she suggested.

"While it was pleasing to see UKIP put in its place, Stoke should never have been in doubt and the result in Copeland was disastrous", he said.

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That prompted Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell to boast: "We've turned back the tide, and I think we've defeated quite a risky form of politics".

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