Election analysis: Cumbria mirrors national picture with Labour comeback and Tory wipeout

Credit: PA

Don't forget, Labour were wiped off the map in Cumbria at the last general election, and haven't had a single MP in the county for the last four and a half years.

They've now completed a dramatic comeback, in line with their nationwide triumph.

The Conservatives have been kicked out of Cumbria, and kicked out of government.

The Liberal Democrats won Westmorland & Lonsdale again, alongside a strong showing more widely, while Reform UK finished 2nd in West Cumbria, typical of how they have picked up a lot of votes but few seats overall.

Many of Cumbria's constituency names and shapes have changed (in a national review that's made them more equal in terms of population size), and it's clear many voters have changed their minds too.

In 2019, 'Workington Man' was pinpointed as a key target voter, and Workington was one of the traditional Labour seats claimed by the Conservatives on their way to a majority in parliament.

Sir Keir Starmer has taken his party back to the centre ground after the Jeremy Corbyn years, and earning back support in areas like the new Whitehaven & Workington constituency was always going to be essential.

Keir Starmer has won the General Election as Labour leader. Credit: PA

But in winning this landslide, they've gone much further too, and the tables have been turned on the Conservatives in many of their rural heartlands, like the new Penrith & Solway constituency.

Many feel Rishi Sunak's party have taken those areas for granted, leaving farmers struggling and sewage in our waterways.

More widely, the Conservatives have been punished for the cost-of-living crisis, crumbling public services, and scandals like partygate.

Speaking to voters in recent weeks, we've not found much enthusiasm for Labour, but their core message of 'change' has been resonant (though vague), after 14 years of Tory government.

One local MP told me their own work could only ever account for a thousand or two votes, the national picture would shape the rest.

Carlisle switched to the Conservatives on their way into Downing Street in 2010, and has gone back to Labour as they get into government.

Of course they now inherit the country's challenges and the issues that need a resolution.

In Cumbria, that includes the controversial coal mine planned for Whitehaven, the future of nuclear power, sewage, the impact of second homes and holiday lets in tourist hotspots, as well as struggles recruiting workers for sectors like care and hospitality and how that fits into immigration policies.

Sir Keir Starmer has spoken quite a lot recently about his childhood holidays in the Lake District.

Now we wait to see what kind of attention he gives Cumbria as Prime Minister.

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