Labour humiliated in Brecon by-election Brexit blow for Jeremy Corbyn

Labour is humiliated on a disastrous night in Brecon as Tom Davies narrowly avoids losing his deposit and the party haemorrhages support in a sign that voters are turning away from Jeremy Corbyn as he sits on the fence over Brexit

  • Tom Davies got just 1,680 votes, down 12% on the 2017 General Election result
  • The 12% swing away from Labour was the worst of any of the parties taking part
  • It is certain to lead to criticism of the opposition leader’s Brexit position 

Labour suffered a torrid night at the Brecon by-election today as they were beaten into fourth place by the Brexit Party.

Local lawyer Tom Davies attracted just 1,680 votes, down 12 per cent on the party’s showing at the 2017 General Election.

He was lucky to have his £500 election deposit returned as his 1,680 votes were just 5.28 per cent of the vote – polling below 5 per cent sees the money retained.

Labour was not expecting to win a seat long fought over by the Tories and Lib Dems.

But the scale of their poor showing in Wales, a traditional stronghold, is likely to cause concern Jeremy Corbyn’s top team.

The swing away from Labour was the worst negative swing of any of the parties taking part in the by-election. 

It is certain to lead to criticism of the opposition leader’s Brexit position, with the party accused of trying to appeal to both Leave and Remain voters with a confused policy.

Local lawyer Tom Davies attracted just 1,680 votes, down 12 per cent on the party’s showing at the 2017 General Election

Mr Corbyn has said Labour will back Remain in any referendum on a Tory Brexit deal, but has remained silent on what it would do if it achieved its own Brexit plan. 

It has raised fears from both Labour Brexiteers and Remainers that he plans to back the other.

Appearing on Sky’s Ridge on Sunday at the weekend Mr Corbyn was asked if Labour now supported a second referendum in all circumstances.

He said: ‘What we are saying is, No Deal we oppose and we think people should have a final choice on it.

‘We could have a vote then between Remain or whatever option Boris Johnson decides to put to them at that time.’

Asked the same question again, Mr Corbyn said: ‘There would be a second referendum to make a choice between whatever deal is arranged and what the public want.’

Mr Davies was lucky to have his £500 election deposit returned as his 1,680 votes were just 5.28 per cent of the vote – polling below 5 per cent sees the money retained

The Labour leader (pictured in Blackpool on Wednesday) said his party would campaign to Remain in a referendum where the other option was No Deal. But he would not be drawn on how the party would campaign in a referendum on a Labour deal

The Labour leader said his party would campaign to Remain in a referendum where the other option was No Deal.

Emily Thornberry later put herself on a potential collision path with Mr Corbyn after she said the party would be ‘off our bloody rockers’ not to back Remain in any second referendum.

The shadow foreign secretary used an interview in Australia to say that if the UK got a chance to stay in the EU ‘we should take it’ because of the potential damage to trade.

Her comments appear to put her at odds with her party leader, who has said Labour will back Remain in any referendum on a Tory Brexit deal, but has remained silent on what it would do if it achieved its own Brexit plan. 

Ms Thornberry has appeared increasingly at odds with Mr Corbyn and his senior team in recent weeks as she has become more outspoken in support of more overt Labour backing for Remain.

She was replaced by Rebecca Long-Bailey last month in her role standing in for the party leader at Prime Minister’s Questions in an apparent demotion.

Appearing on Sky Australia, Ms Thornberry said: ‘When I’ve been talking to people here in Australia…what’s really come home to me is that one of the reasons for the increased success of the Australian economy…is that you increased your trade with your closest neighbours, and yet in Britain what we’re doing is walking away from our closest neighbours and our biggest trading allies.

‘And people that I’ve spoken to here appreciate that, and I have to say practically all of them…have said if we get an opportunity to remain in the European Union, we should take it. Because if we don’t, we’re off our bloody rockers.’

 

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