Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party just won a historic victory. But you wouldn’t have noticed it from the mainstream media. Labour won a seat on Worthing Borough Council for the Marine ward. The first time the party has held a seat there for 40 years.
And Labour also won a council seat in Thanet from UKIP. This victory also means that UKIP is now running the council with a minority.
Labour candidate Beccy Cooper won the Worthing by-election with 47.8% of the vote. This was a nearly 30% increase on the party’s previous vote. The Conservatives meanwhile dropped 6% to 38.8%.
West Sussex County Councillor Michael Jones described the victory as “seismic”. And Jones is in no doubt that this is a historic victory:
In West Sussex politics terms, it’s the equivalent of the asteroid striking the Earth and wiping out all the dinosaurs.
Meanwhile, in Thanet, Labour took the Margate Central ward from UKIP. Although turnout was low – just 21% – Labour won a decisive 57% share of the vote. And UKIP was pushed into third place behind the Conservative Party.
The disastrous result for UKIP in one of its previous strongholds is more evidence that the party is becoming irrelevant. In the council elections in May 2017, the party lost 140 seats. And in the general election, the party saw its vote share fall by 10.8%.
Although this is just one council seat with a low turnout, it is a continuation of the pattern that emerged from the general election; Labour can and are taking votes from all parties, including UKIP.
Despite continual smears by the mainstream media, Labour continues to increase its lead in the polls. And this lead could continue to grow throughout the summer, given Labour is using the break to continue campaigning. Jeremy Corbyn plans to visit 65 marginal seats during the parliamentary recess.
This time last year, Corbyn was facing a challenge to his leadership. These latest results, on top of the general election, are a massive vindication of the Labour leader and his policies. It is also a vindication of the ordinary Labour members who so decisively backed Corbyn to continue as leader against the wishes of the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP).
It can only be hoped that the PLP will now finally get fully behind Corbyn. And we can all work towards a society that works in the interests of the many rather than the few.
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