George Osborne has warned the “disintegration” of the Labour Party is bad for the country, following the party’s fourth place finish at the by-election in Sleaford and North Hykeham.
Conservative Caroline Johnson easily retained the seat yesterday with a 13,144 majority.
Labour has historically finished second in the Lincolnshire seat. However its candidate, Jim Clarke, was pushed in to fourth with just 3,363 votes - behind Ukip and the Lib Dems.
This morning a YouGov poll gave Theresa May’s Tories a 17 point national lead over Labour.
Veteran Labour MP David Winnick said it was an “appalling result” for the party. “If we were to continue in this way then the indications are 2020 will be an electoral disaster and the possibility of a Labour government very remote indeed,” he told the Press Association
“The sort of bunker mentality that seems to exist at the moment at the highest levels of the party needs to recognise what is happening in the outside world.
Labour MP Jess Phillips said Jeremy Corbyn’s “London-centric” pro-immigration views made it difficult for him to communicate with voters outside the capital.
She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme the “result shows there isn’t a real clarity at the moment around Labour’s position on Brexit”.
Sleaford and North Hykeham result in full
Caroline Johnson: (Conservatives) - 17,570
Victoria Ayling: (UKIP) - 4,426
Ross Pepper: (Liberal Democrats) - 3,606
Jim Clarke: (Labour) - 3,363
Marianne Overton: (Lincolnshire Independent) - 2,892
Sarah Stock: (Independent) - 462
The Iconic Arty-Pole: (Monster Raving Loony Party) - 200
Paul Coyne: (Independent) - 186
Mark Suffield: (Independent) - 74
David Bishop: (Bus Pass Elvis Party) - 55
The by-election was triggered after Conservative MP Stephen Phillips over ‘’irreconcilable policy differences’’ with the government.
The former MP supported Brexit but criticised ministers’ handling of the issue in Parliament, as well as their approach to child refugees and targeting of foreign aid.