Labour: Tory win in Copeland 'will cost mums their children'
Labour have raised the stakes in the crucial Copeland by-election by warning voters that a Tory victory will "cost mums their children".
The grim forecast is contained in an open letter from a local mother, Paula Townsley, distributed to homes throughout the constituency.
It follows another Labour by-election leaflet which claimed midwives had warned that cuts to maternity services at West Cumberland Hospital will mean "mothers will die, babies will die, babies will be brain-damaged".
Theresa May repeatedly refused to guarantee the future of the hospital services when quizzed by ITV News during a visit to Copeland yesterday.
In her hand-written letter, Paula Townsley said she gave birth 15 weeks early to twin boys at West Cumberland Hospital, but one of them died.
"If I had to travel to Carlisle, I would have lost them both," she wrote. "West Cumberland Hospital has been a lifeline for me and my family.
"The staff still remember my son when he goes in now. They call him the miracle baby.
"If the Tories are voted in they'll take it as a green light for the local NHS closures. Their cost-cutting will cost mums their children."
She went on: "As a mum to a miracle son, I'm asking you to please vote Labour in our local NHS services on 23 February. It's only 10 minutes to go for Labour's Gillian Troughton, but it could save so much."
But Labour's tactics were condemned by many people on Twitter.
The Conservatives remain favourites to win Copeland, which Labour have held for more than 80 years.
Mrs May's decision to take the unusual step of campaigning in the seat yesterday suggested her party are confident of victory.
But her failure to offer reassurances on hospital services, and plans to build a new nuclear power plant in the constituency, were criticised locally.