Another page in Cumbria’s history was written by voters in Copeland.

Filed under the sub-heading ‘politics’, it reads like a fairytale for Conservative supporters, a nightmare for their Labour rivals.

The Copeland Parliamentary constituency was created in 1983 and it and its predecessor constituency, Whitehaven, have returned Labour MPs since 1935.

But recently, Labour lost it to the Conservatives by 2,147 votes.

Its share of the vote was 37 per cent, newly-elected Trudy Harrison claimed 44.3 per cent of the votes for the Conservatives.

The party kept its seat in the Stoke Central by-election but the result in Cumbria underlined the factions in the party, its failure to connect with voters and even raised questions over its relevance.

Could it get any worse for the Labour Party?

Eric Martlew Labour veteran and former Carlisle MP Eric Martlew conceded: “I have known happier times.”

Mr Martlew stood down in 2010 after 22 years as MP for Carlisle.

He won his seat in the 1987 election after moderate Neil Kinnock had succeeded left winger Michael Foot as party leader.

He recognises a similar scenario to the one the party faced in the 1983 general election when Foot led it to a defeat of epic proportions.

The former MP believes the seat will be regained at the next election because it is due to be amalgamated with part of the Workington constituency held by Labour’s Sue Hayman.

He is more concerned with the state of the party nationally.

“The mood of the party is mixed. There are a lot of new members who don’t understand the significance of being so far behind in the opinion polls at this point in the political cycle,” he explained.

“Being such a long way behind is not where you want to be at this period in time.”

That is always counting on the polls being a meaningful guide and that voters don’t feel the need to make a protest vote.

“If anything has taught us that politics is unpredictable, it is the Brexit vote and the fact that Donald Trump is in the White House.

“We are having great difficulty in getting our message across.”

After winning two elections to be leader of the Labour Party, Mr Martlew, a former Whip, says the party now has to back Jeremy Corbyn, even though he has written off its chances in the 2020 general election.

“We have got to be more coherent in our policies, have a broad church in the shadow cabinet and make the best of our opportunities as the Opposition,” he reasoned.

“When you get open goals you have to score them, but because of what has been going on in the party, we can’t do that.”

Andrew Lawson Aged 20, Andrew Lawson, was the youngest ever mayor of Workington in 2012.

The former Allerdale councillor, now town councillor, campaigned at Copeland and says Labour will continue to struggle with Jeremy Corbyn as leader.

“I would not lay the blame on our brilliant candidate, I think the blame should lie with the leader.

“I think this is a wake-up call for Jeremy Corbyn and his team of advisors. I think he should do the honourable thing and resign.

“The fact that you cannot hold a seat in a Labour area like west Cumbria... he should do the honourable thing and resign for the good of the party.

“On polling day I was going round getting our supporters out to vote and they were saying they were not going to vote because of Jeremy Corbyn and his stance on nuclear power and these were our supporters.

“But also, some were going out to vote because of him.

“We are in a difficult position. Jeremy Corbyn has made a difference and people know we are different to the Tories and are the anti-austerity party, but instead of saying what we are against, we have to say what we are for and what we want.

“We need to reach out beyond the party, to people who have voted for other parties or who even support them.”

One Labour insider from the county said: “You need two things to be successful in politics: a message which is believable and says to the person listening that they feel your pain, they understand you, they are with you, support you and empathise with you; and you need a messenger who is credible.

“The party has not got a message or the messenger.”

Dave Knaggs Dave Knaggs, secretary of the Penrith and the Border constituency Labour Party, blames the media for the Copeland defeat because of what he says is a campaign against Jeremy Corbyn.

It is also, he says, the media’s fault that the party’s message failed to get through to the electorate.

He believes the best way for Labour to recover and win other seats is to make alliances with other parties.

He said: “What the Press have missed completely is that the Copeland and Stoke by-elections were co-ordinated by Ukip and the Tories.

“The Tories gave up Stoke to Ukip but he was such an awful candidate that he blew it.

“Ukip did not pull out any stops in Copeland which is why the Tories did well.

“We have to have a progressive alliance with the Greens and the Lib Dems for future elections, otherwise it just splits the vote and none of the parties are going to get in by themselves.”

Labour now has to regroup in time for the county council elections on May 4.

Stewart Young, the party’s leader of the council, isn’t sure whether there will be a knock-on effect.

He said: “The party nationally is divided and people don’t like divided parties.

“Some people in local elections vote on national issues which is very frustrating.

Stewart Young “All we can do is carry out the campaign we were going to fight. We will be starting to campaign shortly and we are happy to stand on our record.

“If people are going to use every election as a verdict on what is happening nationally, it makes local elections a mockery.”

The 26-year-old Lawson is now almost regarded as a veteran of the party he joined in 2010.

He works for the Cumbria Youth Alliance and while he hopes to see the back of his party’s leader, he hopes all the young supporters who have joined since Corbyn took over the leadership will stay and fight for the party.

He said: “I would like to see the energy, vibrancy and membership that have joined because of Jeremy stay and carry on fighting for the party and for socialism but my fear is that they have only joined for Jeremy.”

The Young Labour Cumbria Twitter feed doesn’t bode well for the future of the party.

It’s stuck in June 2013 when Ed Miliband was still leader and the party machine was gearing up for the damaging elections in 2015.

Cumbria Young Labour Facebook group has just 14 members and bears the message: “Young Labour group is currently in the process of being established. We plan on having a group that can cover the whole county, representing the voices of all young members.”

One senior party member who remembers more successful and settled times warned: “We need to get an improved message and another messenger.”