Boris Johnson faces by-election misery as voters head to the polls in a critical test for the prime minister

Poll guru Professor Sir John Curtice warned Boris Johnson is facing “increased antipathy” from voters – and a double defeat could show the government “is in danger of losing its electoral base”.

Voters will go to the polls today in two by-elections
Voters will go to the polls today in two by-elections

Voters are heading to the polls today for a couple of crunch by-elections that could rock Boris Johnson’s Premiership.

Competitions are being held in Wakefield, West Yorkshire and the seat of Tiverton and Honiton in Devon to replace two disgraced Tory MPs.

The prime minister is at risk of losing both seats – the first time in more than 30 years that a government has suffered a double setback by by-elections.

A terrible night at the election would see Mr Johnson pressured by Tory MPs who held him in place in a recent no-confidence vote – partly due to his record as a victor in 2019.

The prime minister was notably absent from the campaign trail and will miss the immediate consequences after flying thousands of kilometers to Rwanda for a diplomatic summit.

Boris Johnson and his wife Carrie Johnson arrive ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Kigali, Rwanda



Labor is poised for victory in Wakefield, a constituency in its former core areas that turned blue in 2019 for the first time in decades.

Labor candidate Simon Lightwood needs a 3.8% momentum to win Wakefield, where voters are choosing a replacement for Imran Ahmad Khan, who resigned after being found guilty of sexually assaulting a teenager.

The Tories face a Liberal Democrat challenge in Tiverton and Honiton, where ex-Army Major Richard Foord has a Conservative majority of 24,239 in a bid to overthrow them for the Lib Dems.

The by-election was sparked by the resignation of Tory MP Neil Parish for watching porn in the House of Commons.

The results of both competitions are expected in the early hours of Friday morning.

People go to the polls at Lightwaves Leisure Center in Wakefield, West Yorkshire



No sitting prime minister has lost two by-elections in a single day for more than 30 years.

John Major’s Tory government suffered a double blow in the 7 November 1991 general election, losing Langbaurgh in Cleveland to Labor and also Kincardine & Deeside in eastern Scotland to the Liberal Democrats.

Opinion guru Professor Sir John Curtice warned Mr Johnson was facing “increased antipathy” from voters and said two defeats would show the government “is at risk of losing its electoral base”.

In the Independent he wrote: ‘As Lady Bracknell might remark, it could be considered unfortunate if the Conservatives lose a by-election on Thursday.

“But losing two may seem like much more than carelessness – but a sign that a government is in danger of losing its electoral base.”

A woman puts up polling station signage in front of the Honiton Library


(Getty Images)

Keir Starmer said last night: “The public is fed up with Boris Johnson and a Conservative Party that promises a lot but never delivers.”

He added: “A vote for anyone other than Labor will let Boris Johnson off the hook.

“The people of Wakefield have a chance to send the Tories a message that enough is enough.”

Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey said his party was “head and toe” with the Tories in Tiverton.

“More and more people in Tiverton and Honiton are supporting the Liberal Democrats because they are fed up with Boris Johnson’s lies and neglect,” he said.

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