By-election campaigning in Stoke and Copeland draws to a close

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Ballot boxImage source, PA

Campaigning is in its final day in the Stoke-on-Trent Central and Copeland Parliamentary by-elections.

Voters in both constituencies go to the polls on Thursday to elect new MPs for the seats held by Labour at the last general election.

The winning candidates will replace Tristram Hunt in Stoke-on-Trent Central and Jamie Reed, in Copeland, Cumbria.

Mr Hunt quit to become director of the Victoria and Albert Museum, and Mr Reed to take a job in the nuclear industry.

Labour won Stoke-on-Trent at the 2015 election with 39.3% of the vote. UKIP was second with 22.7% and the Conservatives third with 22.5%. Independent Mark Breeze came fourth with 6.8%, followed by the Liberal Democrats with 4.2% and the Green Party with 3.6%.

Labour has held the seat since its creation in 1950.

It has also held Copeland since it was created in 1983, but the Conservatives have said they have a good chance of taking it on Thursday, Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon declaring victory in the constituency - home to the Sellafield nuclear power station - "within our grasp".

Labour won in Copeland, a large, mainly rural seat, at the 2015 general election with 42.3% of the vote, the Conservatives coming second with 35.8% and UKIP third with 15.5%. The Lib Dems were fourth with 3.5% and the Green Party fifth with 3%.

A win for the Tories would be the first time the UK party of government has seized a seat from a rival party in a by-election since Margaret Thatcher's Conservatives took Mitcham and Morden in 1982.

Stoke-on-Trent Central candidates, in alphabetical order

Mohammed Yaqub Akram - Independent

Zulfiqar Ali - Liberal Democrats

Jack Brereton - Conservatives

The Incredible Flying Brick - Official Monster Raving Loony Party

Adam Colclough - Green Party

Godfrey Davies - Christian Peoples Alliance

Barbara Fielding - Independent

David Furness - British National Party Local People First

Paul Nuttall - UKIP

Gareth Snell - Labour

Copeland candidates, in alphabetical order

Michael Guest - Independent

Rebecca Hanson - Liberal Democrats

Trudy Harrison - Conservatives

Roy Ivinson - Independent

Jack Lenox - Green Party

Fiona Mills - UKIP

Gillian Troughton - Labour