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The “People’s Army” is an unpopular party and an unattractive brand. They always have been, and Brexit has changed nothing.
Daggers are drawn yet again, as Arron Banks seeks to take the party over after the Stoke result undermined its leader.
He took a big gamble to get the People’s Army back on the front foot, and lost.
Plus: Labour goes all Smethwick in Copeland. And: Sky News dumbs down at breakfast.
The situation is volatile, but on balance it is more likely that Labour will hang on, and that Paul Nuttall will be the first victim of Thursday’s by-election.
He and his Party are used to weathering negative coverage – even when it’s true.
Join me and hundreds of other Conservatives helping their campaigns: I know from my own by-election fight how very close they can be.
Plus: Unemployment is down. Productivity is up. Wages are up. Despite Brexit. Despite Brexit. Despite Brexit…
It’s still winnable, but there are warning signs for the wider Party and its leadership.
In my area, transport, there will be better jobs on the roads, at the airports and on rail, and more business success elsewhere.
Sebastian Payne visits the by-election front line to explore the depths of the Opposition’s crisis.
Whatever happens, the Conservative consensus is that the Party is pushing less hard in the city than in Copeland.
Our candidate, Jack Brereton, is Stoke born and bred. The seat doesn’t need Paul Nuttall, who sees it as a political pawn
Plus: Can Corbyn survive losing both by-elections? Trump has the tone of Mussolini and the content of Lindbergh. And: another Lib Dem blunder.
This offers May an historic opportunity.