Op-ed: Two by-elections are upcoming. Both are the Labour Party's to lose and other political parties to win. Both by-elections are a result of resignations. Before Christmas 2016 Jamie Reed announced he was quitting for a plum job and on January 13, 2017, Tristram Hunt followed suit. Both elections will be held February 23. Both are in areas that voted by a majority for BRexit, Copeland and Stoke. In the case of Stoke new UKip leader Paul Nuttall is the UKip candidate. As Stoke was the top BRexit area of the UK he may feel he is in with a good chance. Labour have yet to select their candidate. Thursday Gillian Troughton was selected as Labour Party candidate for Copeland.
That is roughly the state of play Saturday.
First thoughts Saturday "come on Labour and get a candidate for Stoke selected." UKip are already campaigning hard in Stoke for Nuttall.
The Labour Party needs to hang on to both of these constituencies.
Rumour has it that Tristram Hunt was not popular with his CLP, Constituency Labour Party, and that they were looking to oust him. Was he a good MP or did he let Labour down locally? If he did how will that impact on the vote?
One big cause for concern is the time-frame of these elections. Campaigning will not be easy with two by-elections on the same day and in such a short time.
You may think "well it will be the same for other political parties" but as stated above it is Labour Party seats which could be lost and others have it all to gain.
It could be that the Tories will throw all they have at Copeland and UKip concentrate on Stoke.
UKip and the Conservative Party are after all both on the right-wing of politics and in some ways one and the same. UKip has one seat in the HoC and it is occupied by a Tory who jumped ship. They have more seats in the Welsh assembly with at least two occupied by Tories who also jumped ship.
The Labour Party endured a divisive year in 2016.
Jamie Reed and Tristram Hunt were hostile to party leader Jeremy Corbyn from the day he was elected in September 2015; in truth hostile from the moment his name appeared in the leadership race.
That will leave many questioning the timing of these by elections. Collusion springs to mind.
With mainstream media reports, from unnamed sources as usual, that more Labour MPS are set to quit if and when they can get plum jobs it could be another bumpy year.
2016 self-servatives in the Labour Party launched a coup. The coup failed but it damaged Labour's reputation and left deep divisions. In some cases decent Labour Party members were given kangaroo court treatment and purged from the party.
None of it was a good look for the electorate as it played out with the media lapping it all up greedily.
But make no mistake.
There is only one political party that will truly serve the people of Copeland and Stoke and that is the Labour Party.
If you value the NHS Labour must surely get your vote?
There are other issues but both UKip and the Conservative Party have their sights set on a privatised health service.
With narcissistic loud mouth Donald Trump in the White House and the UK leaving the EU we are living in very uncertain times.
If you need a reminder of how many Tory MPs stand to win big with NHS privatisation follow this link.
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