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By-election result today live: Tory party chairman quits as Conservatives lose both seats

Boris Johnson fails to deny he offered Carrie Symonds top job

Boris Johnson has been dealt a triple blow as the Conservative lost both by-elections and party chairman resigned saying he was “distressed and disappointed” at recent results.

Labour gained Wakefield while the Lib Dems won big in Tiverton and Honiton.

With both results coming in quick succession in the early hours of Friday, Simon Lightwood won for Labour after gaining 13,166 votes, compared to 8,241 for Conservative candidate Nadeem Ahmed.

The Liberal Democrats’ Richard Foord won convincingly in Devon gaining 22,537 votes overturning a 24,000 Conservative majority.

Mr Foord, the newly-elected Liberal Democrat MP for Tiverton and Honiton, described his victory as “absolutely staggering.” Meanwhile, Simon Lightwood has said “the next Labour government has been born in this room tonight” after his win in West Yorkshire.

Following the double loss, Conservative Party chairman Oliver Dowden resigned from his position citing the by-election results saying: “Somebody must take responsibility,” adding “we cannot continue with business as usual.”


NEW: Boris Johnson responds to Oliver Dowden resignation

Boris Johnson has thanked Oliver Dowden after he resigned as Tory party co-chairman.

Speaking to broadcasters in Kigali, the prime minister: “It’s absolutely true we’ve had some tough by-election results, they’ve been, I think, a reflection of a lot of things, but we’ve got to recognise voters are going through a tough time at the moment.

“I think, as a government, I’ve got to listen to what people are saying, in particular to the difficulties people are facing over the cost of living, which, I think, for most people is the number one issue.

“We’re now facing pressures on the cost of living, we’re seeing spikes in fuel prices, energy costs, food costs – that’s hitting people.

“We’ve got to recognise there is more we’ve got to do and we certainly will, we will keep going, addressing the concerns of people until we get through this patch.”


Thomas Kingsley24 June 2022 07:23


Time for Tories to ‘wake up’, says former No 10 chief of staff

Gavin Barwell, former No 10 chief of staff under Theresa May, said the results should show the Conservatives it is “time to wake up before it is too late”.

“Finally someone in the cabinet says ‘Enough is enough’,” he tweeted on Mr Dowden’s exit. “These by-elections – particularly Tiverton – show the Conservative Party is sleepwalking to defeat at the next election.”

Thomas Kingsley24 June 2022 07:10


Voters have delivered their message on Boris Johnson. The coup is on

Traditionally it was African heads of state that suddenly lost power at home while off globetrotting to international conferences.

Boris Johnson, currently in Rwanda to avoid his own MPs, seems set to turn convention that on its head.

A coup d’etat feels a little more likely now than it did even a few days ago. Unusually, the party chairman Oliver Dowden, previously shamefully loyal to Johnson, has quit in disgust (arguably before he was scapegoated and fired).

Read the full Voices piece from Sean O’Grady:

Thomas Kingsley24 June 2022 07:03


‘An honourable letter from an honourable man,’ MPs react to Dowden resignation

Conservative MP Simon Hoare described former party chairman Oliver Dowden described his resignation nation as “an honourable letter from an honourable man.”

Writing on Twitter the North Dorset MP added: “OliverDowden is not to blame for these results. Since 2015 I have always been proud to call Oliver a friend. Never more so than today.”

Conservative MP, Sir Roger Gale who has called for Boris Johnson to step down said: “Oliver Dowden is a decent and honourable man who has clearly decided that he can no longer defend the indefensible.”

Thomas Kingsley24 June 2022 06:45


Oliver Dowden resigns as Tory chair after Conservative losses in by-elections

Oliver Dowden has resigned as chairman of the Conservative Party after it suffered two by-election defeats, saying in a letter to prime minister Boris Johnson that “someone must take responsibility”.

Mr Dowden said in his letter to the PM the by-elections “are the latest in a run of very poor results for our party”.

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

“We cannot carry on with business as usual. Somebody must take responsibility and I have concluded that, in these circumstances, it would not be right for me to remain in office.”

The MP ended his letter by saying: “I want to emphasise that this is a deeply personal decision that I have taken alone.

“I will, as always, remain loyal to the Conservative Party.”

Namita Singh24 June 2022 06:22


‘Voters rejecting PM’, says former No 10 adviser

Former No 10 adviser Tim Montgomerie, creator of the Conservative Home website, said the result in Tiverton was “massive”, adding: “This is a crisis for the Conservative party.”

He told Sky News: “Voters are reacting to the character of the prime minister. They are rejecting the character of the prime minister. And if the Conservative doesn’t act soon… the whole Conservative party will be judged. We cannot let this situation continue.”

Namita Singh24 June 2022 06:12


Breaking: Tory party chairman Oliver Dowden resigns after double by-election loss

Tory party chairman Oliver Dowden has submitted his letter of resignation after the Conservative’s double by-election loss.

Namita Singh24 June 2022 05:55


‘The next Labour government has been born’ – Lightwood

New Wakefield MP Simon Lightwood declared that “the next Labour government has been born in this room tonight”.

In his speech after being announced the winner of the West Yorkshire by-election, he said: “Tonight, the people of Wakefield have spoken on behalf of the British people. They have said unreservedly: ‘Boris Johnson, your contempt for this country is no longer tolerated’.

Labour party candidate Simon Lightwood wins by-election in Wakefield


“It’s not acceptable that a quarter of our children in Wakefield live in poverty, it’s not acceptable that hundreds of people leave A&E every month without being treated because of record NHS waiting times, and it’s not acceptable that convictions for crimes like robbery have fallen by almost half in the past five years.

“People in Wakefield and across the country are sick of the deceit and dishonesty of this government.”

Namita Singh24 June 2022 05:51


Tories handed ‘wake-up call’ with double defeat in Tiverton and Wakefield by-elections

The Liberal Democrats swept to victory in Devon, as Richard Foord overcame a Tory majority of 24,239 votes – the largest ever overturned at a by-election.

Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey said it was the “biggest by-election victory our country has ever seen”, adding that the result should be a “wake-up call” to Tory MPs about Mr Johnson’s leadership.

Labour’s Simon Robert Lightwood won in Wakefield after winning the west Yorkshire seat by almost 5,000 votes, overturning a smaller Conservative lead of 3,358 votes.

Read the details in this joint report by Holly Bancroft and Adam Forrest :

Namita Singh24 June 2022 05:36


Labour ‘rebuilding the red wall’, says Lightwood

Simon Lightwood, the newly elected MP from Wakefield, told reporters Labour was “rebuilding the red wall” and that the biggest issue on the doorstep throughout the campaign had been the cost of living crisis.

Asked what the victory would mean for Sir Keir Starmer’s leadership, he said: “I think it speaks volumes. We are rebuilding the red wall and this is the birthplace of the next Labour government.”

Simon Lightwood at a counting center after a by-election in Wakefield


Mr Lightwood added: “We’re rebuilding the trust of the electorate and people are ready for a fresh start. They’re sick of all the lies and deceit of Boris Johnson and we offer that alternative vision.”

Asked whether the success would translate into other red wall seats across the north, he said: “I think we can be certain of that.”

Namita Singh24 June 2022 05:27

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