February 24, 2017 / 3:05 AM / 5 months ago

UK PM May's Conservatives win parliamentary seat, first gain for ruling party for 35 years

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Conservative Party candidate Trudy Harrison (C) arrives with her husband Keith at the count for the Copeland by-election in Whitehaven, Britain, February 24, 2017.Phil Noble

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's ruling Conservatives won a parliamentary by-election in the north-west English region of Copeland on Friday, taking control of a once safe seat held by the opposition Labour Party and the first such gain by a ruling party since 1982.

The Conservatives, who had been bookmakers favourites ahead of the vote, won by a margin of more than 2,000 votes from Labour.

The vote, which was triggered by the resignation of the incumbent lawmaker, underscores the difficulties Labour faces in the north of England following last year's vote to leave the European Union, at which the party's pro-EU stance alienated many of its Eurosceptic working class voters.

Reporting by William James; editing by Michael Holden

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