Jeremy Corbyn candidate loses out as Labour choose former hospital doctor to fight by-election
Labour has chosen an ex-doctor to fight a crunch by-election after rejecting a candidate backed by Jeremy Corbyn.
Local councillor Gillian Troughton won a tense selection battle and will try to defend the party's 2,500 majority in the Copeland seat being vacated by sitting MP Jamie Reed.
PoliticsHome revealed last night that Labour bosses plan to hold the ballot, and a separate by-election in Stoke, on the same day next month.
Supporters of Mr Corbyn, including his speechwriter David Prescott and press officer James Schneider, are thought to have helped local campaigner Rachel Holliday's campaign to win the Copeland nomination for Labour.
But in a major surprise, it was announced last night that trained surgeon Ms Troughton had been selected by local party members.
Mr Corbyn said: "I am delighted that Gillian Troughton will be Labour’s candidate for the Copeland by-election.
"Gillian is a local councillor with a strong track record of getting things done for her community. She has campaigned tirelessly to maintain local hospital services.
"As a St John’s blue light ambulance driver, Gillian has seen first-hand the extent of the crisis caused by this Conservative government, which has chosen to fund tax cuts for the wealthiest instead of our health service. I am proud that Labour has selected a local candidate with such dedication to her community."
The Conservatives said her selection was "a victory for the hard left".
"It is clear Gillian Troughton is nothing more than a Corbyn puppet in a Labour party that is too divided and incompetent to stand up and secure the future of Cumbria’s industry and jobs," said a spokesman.
"Only the Conservatives can be trusted to deliver the vital investment that will mean more jobs and better services for ordinary working Cumbrians."
But a local Labour source said: "Gillian is anything but hard left, in fact she was once a Conservative. The Tories have been caught on the hop because they didn't expert her to win. She is a great candidate."