Bloody by-election defeats show “the country has lost faith in the Tories,” Labor says

Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer has said the “country has lost faith in the Tories” after Boris Johnson endured a tough night with two by-election defeats in which Oliver Dowden has now also resigned

Simon Lightwood won the Wakefield seat by a majority of 4,925
Simon Lightwood won the Wakefield seat by a majority of 4,925

Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer claimed the “country has lost faith in the Tories” after Boris Johnson suffered a penalty night with two by-election defeats.

The results led Conservative Party leader Oliver Dowden submits his letter of resignation, saying “someone has to take responsibility” for the losses.

While the Prime Minister was in Rwanda for a meeting of Commonwealth leaders, the Tories saw Labor retake Wakefield and the Liberal Democrats gain the upper hand in Tiverton and Honiton.

The electoral campaign sparked by the disgraced Tories gave voters a chance to cast their vote on the Prime Minister just weeks after 41% of his own MPs voted against him.

Sir Keir was in high spirits after the Wakefield win and said the Conservatives were “running out of energy and ideas”.

He said: “Wakefield has shown that the country has lost faith in the Tories.

Sir Keir Starmer claimed people had lost faith in the Tories



“This result is a clear verdict on a conservative party that has run out of energy and ideas. Britain deserves better. Wakefield voted for Labor because we have the solutions to the challenges facing the British people.

“The Labor Party is back on the side of working people, winning seats where we lost before and ready to govern.”

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey said: “The Liberal Democrats made political history with this overwhelming victory. It is the biggest post-election victory our country has ever seen.

“This should be a wake-up call for all the Conservative MPs supporting Boris Johnson. You can’t afford to ignore this result.”

And the victors at Tiverton and Honiton urged the Prime Minister to resign after the losses.

Mr Dowden said in his resignation letter to the Prime Minister: “Yesterday’s general elections are the latest in a series of very poor results for our party,” Mr Dowden wrote in a letter to the Prime Minister.

“Our supporters are shocked and disappointed by recent events and I share their feelings.

Wakefield was one of the so-called Red Wall Seats won by the Tories in 2019



“We cannot continue as usual. Someone has to take responsibility and I have come to the conclusion that in the circumstances it would not be right to remain in office.”

At Wakefield, Simon Lightwood was elected to the Yorkshire seat by a majority of 4,925, with a 12.7% move from Tories to Labour.

Former Wakefield MP Imran Ahmad Khan resigned after he was found guilty of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy – a crime for which he was sentenced to 18 months in prison.

Wakefield was one of the so-called Red Wall seats won by the Tories in the 2019 general election, having been Labor since the 1930s.

Mr Lightwood said: “The people of Wakefield have spoken on behalf of the British people. You said unreservedly: Boris Johnson, your contempt for this country will no longer be tolerated.”

And Wakefield wasn’t the only bad news for Mr Johnson as the Liberal Democrats ousted a 24,000 Tory majority in Tiverton and Honiton to win.

In Tiverton and Honiton, Neil Parish – the Tory MP who had more than 60% of the vote in 2019 – resigned after admitting to seeing pornography on his mobile phone in the House of Commons.

Newly elected Lib Dem MP Richard Foord said it was time for Boris Johnson to “go”.



With a dramatic switch of almost 30% from the Tories to the Liberal Democrats, Richard Foord secured a majority of 6,144 votes.

The new Lib Dem MP used his acceptance speech to urge Mr Johnson to “go and go now” and claimed his victory “sent a shockwave through British politics”.

Mr Foord said: “The people of Tiverton and Honiton have spoken for Britain. They sent a message loud and clear – it is time for Boris Johnson to go, now.”

He said that “every day that Boris Johnson stays in office brings more shame, chaos and neglect”.

In a message to the Prime Minister, Mr Foord, a former army major, said: “I can tell you that leadership means acting with decency and integrity.

“It means keeping your word. It means leading by example and putting the needs of other people before your own. I served alongside friends who embodied these values, putting their lives in the service of their country.

“Yet your conduct, Mr. Johnson, makes a laughing stock of leadership. You are in no way qualified to lead.”

The Liberal Democrats said Mr Foord overturned the largest majority in by-election history. It was the sixth biggest blow to a government since 1945 in by-elections that saw both the seat and the incumbent change hands.

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