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By-election 1) Copeland. Conservatives power to victory in first Government by-election gain in 35 years

Trudy Harrison“Jeremy Corbyn was humiliated today as Labour lost Copeland to the Tories in the worst by-election defeat for an Opposition since 1945. MPs accused the veteran left winger of ‘insulting’ the public after he bizarrely blamed ‘the failed political consensus’ for the disastrous showing – which saw mother-of-four Trudy Harrison romp home with a 2,000 majority… Shadow cabinet member Cat Smith was ridiculed for trying to paint the dire result as a success, telling ITV that ‘to be 15-18 points behind in the polls and push the Tories within 2,000 votes is an incredible achievement’. Labour MP John Woodcock said the party could not make excuses and was on track for ‘an historic and catastrophic defeat’ at the next general election.” – Daily Mail

  • Copeland takes ‘nuclear option’ with first Tory MP since 1935 – Daily Telegraph

Labour:

  • Results show cracks in Corbyn’s leadership – The Times (£)
  • Labour loss piles pressure on the leadership – FT
  • McDonnell insists result is not about Corbyn – The Sun
  • Corbyn allies blame disunity for rout – The Guardian
  • Woodcock warns that Labour is heading for catastrophic defeat – The Independent

>Today: ToryDiary: Ding, dong. Ding, dong. By-election bells toll for Corbyn in Copeland and Stoke.

By-election 2) Stoke. Labour hold on, UKIP and Tory vote up – but Nuttall fails his big test

“This was meant to be the night the Ukip leader Paul Nuttall trounced Labour and stormed triumphantly into Parliament on a wave of populist support. Instead, he found himself standing next to the leader of the Monster Raving Loony Party, Howling Lord Hope – who offered Nuttall the consolation that while he had now failed four times to become an MP, for the Loony man it was 22 and counting. As Nuttall pointed out afterwards, he had managed to cut the Labour majority in half… But merely narrowing the gap on Labour is scant consolation in the seat dubbed the “Brexit capital of Britain”, where 69.4 per cent of the city last year voted to leave the European Union.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Stoke defeat casts doubt on UKIP leader – FT
  • Nuttall refuses to quit as Labour hold ‘Brexit Central’ – Daily Express
  • UKIP chief ‘not going anywhere’ – The Guardian

Labour:

  • Still red: Labour cling on – The Sun
  • Dromey calls for ‘humility’ in victory – Daily Express

More:

  • Net migration falls below 300,000 as Poles go home – The Times (£)

Comment:

  • Labour needs a ‘proper’ immigration policy: freedom of movement – Chi Onwurah, The Guardian

Daniel Finkelstein: Make no mistake, both these results are disasters for Labour

“FLABOUR dead roseor those who thought Ukip might sweep up Labour’s northern seats the result provides a degree of comfort (ignoring for a moment that Stoke isn’t in the North) I suppose. But for those who think the real issue is the Tories, the Tories, the Tories, then Labour winning a fairly strong Labour seat with a swing against you should be no comfort at all. Stoke is a disaster because Copeland is a disaster and Stoke may persuade enough of Mr Corbyn’s Labour fans that it isn’t.” – The Times (£)

  • By-elections make Labour leader’s survival unlikely – John Rentoul, The Independent
  • You broke it, Corbyn, now you must own it – Rafael Behr, The Guardian
  • Stage is set for UKIP to disappear from view – Matt Chorley, Times Red Box
  • Copeland disaster shows just how big Labour’s problems are – John Harris, The Guardian

>Today: Iain Dale’s column: Jon Snow makes a case for dictatorship by elites

>Yesterday: James Frayne’s column: Weak opposition gives the Government the luxury of time

Ministers 1) Brokenshire says troops won’t be ‘hounded’ over Ulster deaths

“Police and prosecutors will be barred from re-investigating killings by British soldiers in Northern Ireland unless there is ‘new and credible evidence’, a Government minister has said. Ulster Secretary James Brokenshire spoke out as he faced growing calls to prevent retired troops facing a ‘witch-hunt’ some 40 years after they battled terrorism. He was urged to act after it emerged the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s (PSNI) taxpayer-funded Legacy Investigation Branch (LIB) was re-examining 302 deaths by UK troops during the Troubles.” – Daily Mail

  • DUP MP weeps as he tells Commons how his cousin was murdered by the IRA – Daily Mail

More:

  • Ministry of Defence accused of failing to enforce the Military Covenant – Daily Express
  • Ministers ‘must tell public’ about drone strikes on ISIS Britons, urges former commander – Daily Mail

Ministers 2) Hammond draws up £1 billion care u-turn

MANIFESTO money“Chancellor Philip Hammond is drawing up plans for a Budget social care funding lifeline to help crisis-hit services for the elderly and disabled. It would be the second Government Budget U-turn in a week after Communities Secretary Sajid Javid bowed to pressure, promising extra cash for small businesses facing huge business rate hikes. Sources said the cash injection could be as much as £1billion. But the shortfall in adult social care funding is predicted to be as much as £2.6billion by 2020.” – The Sun

  • Confused firms don’t know whether to pay rates bill or await relief – Daily Mail
  • Government intervention has led to higher energy bills, Lords report claims – The Guardian

Comment:

  • The Chancellor must harden his heart on tax – Ed Conway, The Times (£)

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