Under fire Boris Johnson had a torrid election night as the Tories lost by-elections in Wakefield, Tiverton and Honiton
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Keir Starmer said Labor’s by-election win showed the party was “on track” to power and said the Tories were “absolutely imploding”.
The beaming Labor leader said Wakefield would emerge as the “birthplace” of the party’s next government as he celebrated winning back a key brick in the Red Wall.
Boris Johnson had a torrid night at the polls as the Tories lost two key by-elections in a humiliating blow to his leadership.
The under-fire Prime Minister was more than 4,000 miles away in Rwanda when the news broke, threatening to derail his diplomatic efforts at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).
In a dramatic night, Labor Wakefield’s Simon Lightwood won back by a majority of 4,925, on a 12.7% swing from the Tories.
The Liberal Democrats ousted a Conservative majority of 24,000 in Tiverton and Honiton, in an overwhelming victory for the party in the Tory’s ‘Blue Wall’.
Tory leader Oliver Dowden resigned dramatically in the early hours, surprising Mr Johnson as he went out for an early morning swim.
Speaking to broadcasters in Kigali, Mr Johnson admitted the results were “tough” but insisted he would not stop and vowed to “listen” to voters.
But Mr Starmer said “if the Tories had any decency they would get out of the way” as he celebrated Labor’s wakefield by-election win.
Speaking to Ossett Market, the Labor leader said: “What a judgment this is of the Tories and Boris Johnson – out of touch, out of ideas and if they had any decency they’d get out of the way for the sake of the country.
“When we form that next Labor government, and we will, Wakefield will go down in history as the birthplace of it.”
Wakefield’s recovery is a big boost for Mr Starmer, who has faced murmured questions about his leadership in recent weeks.
The seat had been Labor since the 1930s but was seized by the Tories in 2019 when Mr Johnson snapped up parts of the so-called Red Wall.
A by-election was triggered after Tory Imran Ahmad Khan resigned earlier this year after being convicted of sexually assaulting a teenager.
Mr Starmer said the win was a “huge result” for the party and “absolutely” a brick in Labour’s red wall.
“This puts us absolutely on track now for a Labor government that is absolutely to come,” he said.
Pointing to a “significant” swing towards Labor, he added: “That tells you the next government will be a Labor government and the sooner the better because the country had no confidence in them in either by-election yesterday pronounced -of-touch, out-of-ideas government.
“For us, this is a historic by-election.”
Mr Starmer also said Conservatives would “absolutely implode” after Mr Dowden’s resignation.
The Lib Dems also celebrated after decisive wins in Tiverton and Honiton, where candidate Richard Foord toppled a 24,000 Tory majority.
Mr Foord won 22,537 votes compared to Tory candidate Helen Hurford’s 16,393 votes – a majority of 6,144.
The vote, which came after Conservative MP Neil Parish resigned in the House of Commons over porn viewing, is the second major victory for the Lib Dems in the Tory heartland following their coup in North Shropshire in December.
Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey told LBC: “We are smiling here and the message from Tiverton and Honiton, the people here in Devon, is that Boris Johnson has to go.
“I think they spoke for the entire British people and it really is about time he went.”
He added that under Mr Johnson’s leadership the country was “in chaos” and the Conservatives appeared to have no plan.
The Liberal Democrats have campaigned “positively” in the constituency with policies that have “revived” people while the current government is faltering, he said.
“I think it speaks on behalf of the people – Boris Johnson really needs to be pushed out,” Sir Ed said.
The rural constituency of Devon lies in the so-called Blue Wall of Tory Heartlands in southern England – and the loss will ring big alarm bells among Conservative MPs.
Tory grandee Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown said there was “no doubt” it would be “difficult” to hold his seat when his constituency now had by-elections.
The Cotswolds MP, who is Treasurer of the 1922 Tory Backbench Committee, said: “I think if I walked under a bus today it would be difficult to hold my seat. There is no doubt about it.
“I am so sorry for all of our volunteers, and also for my colleagues and myself, who are working very hard in this by-election but have been simply defeated by the situation we are in right now.”
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/keir-starmer-says-labour-on-27317701 Keir Starmer says Labor is 'on track' to take power as 'imploding' Tories suffer by-election losses