Smith criticises Corbyn over surprise loss of Yorkshire council seat to Liberal Democrats

Owen Smith.
Owen Smith.
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LABOUR leadership hopeful Owen Smith has accused Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters of not doing enough to fight for a Yorkshire council seat the party has lost to the Liberal Democrats.

The Lib Dems secured a surprise victory in the by-election for the Mosborough ward seat on Sheffield City Council.

Labour had taken all three ward seats in May’s all-out elections in Sheffield with UK Independence Party candidates the main challengers.

But a 19 per cent swing from Labour saw Lib Dem Gail Smith elected in the by-election triggered by the death of Labour’s Isobel Bowler.

Owen Smith. who is challenging Mr Corbyn for the Labour leadership, said it was a “disappointing result”.

A spokesman for Mr Smith said: ”Large rallies might make Jeremy and his supporters feel good but they don’t translate into votes.

“Owen’s campaign in Sheffield cancelled leadership activities yesterday so that members could concentrate on the by-election. It’s a pity that Jeremy’s campaign didn’t do the same.”

The Lib Dems last won in Mosborough eight years ago when they took control of Sheffield City Council.

Sheffield Hallam MP Nick Clegg said: “As well as a loss for Labour, this is a significant victory for the Lib Dems.

“It shows the people of Sheffield appreciate the hard work the Liberal Democrat team do in the Town Hall holding Labour’s disastrous local leadership to account and proves once again that the Liberal Democrats are the only real challenge to Labour in Sheffield.”