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Triple blow for Boris Johnson as Tories lose two by-elections and party chairman resigns | Politics news

Written by Javed Iqbal

Boris Johnson has suffered a triple blow as the Tories crashed to two midterm defeats, prompting Conservative Party chairman Oliver Dowden to resign.

The Conservatives saw a majority of 24,000, or 40.6%, in the Devon seat of Tiverton and Honiton evaporates – record reverse for the party – when the Liberal Democrats won.

In Wakefield, the red wall constituency in West Yorkshire that was snatched by the Conservatives in 2019, it was Labor who took the victory.

Following the results of the by-elections, Conservative Party chairman Oliver Dowden resigned and said in a letter to the Prime Minister: “We can not continue business as usual.”

Johnson thanked him for his service, but replied, saying while understanding Mr Dowden’s “disappointment”, the government had a “historic mandate” from the parliamentary elections and he wanted to continue the work “to unite and raise the level” in the country.

Politics Hub: Reaction to Boris Johnson’s humiliating defeat

It was the most recent election campaign for prime minister this year after the Tories lost almost 500 council seats at the beginning of last month.

Simon Lightwood, who won the midterm elections in Wakefield for Labor, said: “I think people are completely tired of the lies and deceptions we have seen from the Prime Minister and they are demanding change and tonight is the demonstration of that.”

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Labor hit PM’s ‘contempt’

Richard Foord, who took Tiverton and Honiton to the Lib Dems, used his acceptance speech to urge Prime Minister Boris Johnson to “go and go now”, claiming his victory had “sent a shock wave through British politics”.

Johnson has been under pressure due to the partygate scandal as well as the cost-of-living crisis that is squeezing British household budgets.

That pressure intensified when one no-confidence motion saw 148 Conservative MPs against him.

But in his condemnatory letter, Mr Dowden stepped up the game again, saying “Someone must take responsibility.”

Tory backbencher and fierce critic of the prime minister, Sir Roger Gale, said Mr Dowden was “a decent and honorable man who has clearly decided he can no longer defend the indefensible”.

His Conservative colleague, Angela Richardson – who withdrew as a junior assistant across partygate – also tweeted that the former party chairman “was probably not responsible for these results”, while MP Simon Hoare said he was “proud to call Oliver a friend” – never more than today “.

Johnson, who is attending the Commonwealth’s Intergovernmental Conference in Rwanda, said ahead of the vote that it would be “crazy” for him to step down as prime minister if he lost the two seats.

Speaking after the result, they said he did not want to “minimize the importance” of the message from voters, but it was normal for governments to be “punished at the polls” in the middle of their term.

Oliver Dowden has jumped – but will others follow?


Sam Coates

Sam Coates

Deputy Political Editor

@SamCoatesSky

The chairman of the Conservative Party, Oliver Dowden, resigned this morning, declaring that “someone must take responsibility”.

Yet it is far from a clear fault that the two defeats from one day to the next in two very different sets of electoral circumstances could ever be put at the door of the gentle Mr. Dowden.

Voters in Tiverton did not demand his head as the prize for avoiding the Liberal Democrats.

Labor would have won Wakefield if someone else had filled that position.

So why has he gone?

Read the full analysis here

The Prime Minister added: “I think as a government I need to listen to what people are saying, especially to the difficulties people are facing in terms of the cost of living, which I think is the main problem for the people. most people.

“We need to recognize that there is more we need to do, and we certainly will, we will continue to address people’s concerns until we get through this patch.”

But Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer said: “Wakefield has shown that the country has lost confidence in the Tories.

“This result is a clear verdict on a Conservative party that has run out of energy and ideas.”

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Richard Foord wins Tiverton and Honiton midterm elections for Liberal Democrats

In a speech to Sky News, Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey said it was a “big win” for his party but showed a “big problem for our country”.

“I think the people of Tiverton and Honiton have spoken for the British people, and I think they have said loud and clear, Boris Johnson must go,” he added.

“They see him as a lying offender, and they see him as someone who has no plan for our country.”

Analysis:
Losses by middle choice will slowly seep like poison into the Tory bloodstream
The Tories suffer some of the worst midterm defeat since 1945

The by-elections, both in holiday constituencies, took place on the sixth anniversary of the Brexit vote.

They were each triggered by the resignation of conservative MPs: in Tiverton and Honiton, Neil Parish resigned after admitting to watching pornography on his cell phone in the Commons chamber; in Wakefield, Imran Ahmad Khan resigned after being found guilty of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy.

It turned out shortly after the polls closed that it was going to be a bad night for the Tories.

Luke Hall, the party’s deputy chairman, told Sky News it had been a “challenging campaign”, pointing to the impact of divisions revealed by the vote of confidence.

“I will certainly accept that disagreement in political parties means that parties do not win elections,” he said.

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Javed Iqbal

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