Jeremy Corbyn has come under intense pressure to take some personal responsibility for Labour’s historic byelection defeat in Copeland from senior party figures, including trade union leaders and even members of his own shadow cabinet.
The Labour leader was urged not to “pass the buck” or sugarcoat the result after Theresa May’s Conservatives secured the first byelection gain by a government since 1982, in a Cumbrian seat that had been held by his party since 1935.
As some claimed the result placed Labour on track for electoral meltdown, the general secretary of a trade union that has backed Corbyn in two leadership elections issued a stark warning.
Unison’s Dave Prentis described the Copeland result as “disastrous”. “No one objective could argue last night’s byelection results were good for Labour,” he said.
The Unison leader welcomed Labour holding off the Ukip leader, Paul Nuttall, in a second byelection in Stoke, although he said even that result should never have been in doubt.