A STAUNCH critic of Jeremy Corbyn has torn into the Labour Party after its crashing defeat in the Copeland by-election.
The Conservatives dealt Mr Corbyn’s party a humiliating blow by snatching the Cumbrian seat, in an area which had been represented by Labour MPs since 1935.
Former Portsmouth Labour group leader, Councillor John Ferrett, who quit to become an independent on the city council because political differences with Mr Corbyn, said: ‘It’s an absolute disaster for the Labour Party, and a disaster for the country as a whole.
‘It effectively means, we have no opposition in the UK at a time when we badly need it, with all the disruption going on, not least through Brexit.’
Cllr Ferrett, who represents Paulsgrove ward, added: ‘Jeremy Corbyn is desperately unpopular with the country and Labour will continue to suffer results like this all the time he is leader of the party.’
Labour took some solace from holding on to Stoke-on-Trent Central, where its new MP, Gareth Snell, had faced a concerted challenge from Ukip leader Paul Nuttall.
Mr Nuttall was forced to declare he would be staying on as leader after failing to make significant inroads in a seat which voted 70 per cent for Brexit in last year’s EU referendum and was seen as a key test of his mission to replace Labour as the natural party of the working class of the Midlands and northern England.
Victory for Tory Trudy Harrison in Copeland was the first time a governing party had gained a seat in a parliamentary by-election since 1982, and represents a historic achievement for a party which has been in office for seven years of unrelenting austerity.