Copeland is a large and essentially rural constituency set on the West coast of Cumbria. It is home to the large nuclear plant at Sellafield on which thousands of local residents rely for their employment. Politically, it is a seat which has been held by the Labour Party for decades. The name Copeland is relatively new, it was previously called after one of the largest towns in the constituency – Whitehaven. Although geographically large it is undersized in terms of the size of the population, around 63,000 if I recall correctly. The Conservatives were a couple of thousand behind at the last election.
Having visited the constituency a few times the one thing that strikes you is its remoteness. You do feel a very long way from Westminster. Incidentally, the area voted Leave in the referendum last year. Given that the Conservatives did not even win this seat in 1983 winning it now will clearly be a challenge, but not out of the question. The Conservative Candidate is local having lived all her life in the area and for anyone who still believes in the polls the Conservatives are ahead of Labour in the polls. Well, with the by-election set for the 23rd a week on Friday we will know.