politics

Tory chairman Oliver Dowden quits after by-election defeats in Wakefield and Tiverton & Honiton


The contests in Wakefield and Tiverton and Honiton were triggered by the resignation of disgraced Tories. The by-elections offered voters the chance to give their verdict on the Prime Minister just weeks after 41% of his own MPs cast their ballots against him.

Conservative Party Chairman Oliver Dowden has quit after the party suffered two bruising by-election defeats this morning.

In Tiverton and Honiton the Liberal Democrats overturned a 24,000 Tory majority to win, while Labour reclaimed Wakefield with an astonishing 12% swing.

The contests, triggered by the resignation of disgraced Tories, offered voters the chance to give their verdict on the Prime Minister just weeks after 41% of his own MPs cast their ballots against him.

In his resignation letter to the Prime Minister, Mr Dowden said: “Yesterday’s Parliamentary by-elections are the latest in a run of very poor result for our party,” Mr Dowden wrote in a letter to the Prime Minister.

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






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“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.”

Mr Dowden’s remarks take a strikingly different tone to words he used ahead of the Prime Minister’s vote of no confidence.

Ahead of the vote, he tweeted: “I will be voting for Boris Johnson in the confidence vote tonight.

“He’s demonstrated real leadership in getting the big calls right as PM – Brexit, vaccines, reopening and Ukraine.

“I hope after this vote we can come together and focus on the future. Let’s face the big challenges united and focused on delivery.”







Boris Johnson speaking at a Business Forum in Kigali, Rwanda
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The Liberal Democrats said Mr Foord had overturned the biggest majority in by-election history.

It was the sixth biggest swing against a government since 1945 in by-elections where both the seat and incumbent changed hands.

The new Lib Dem MP in Tiverton & Honiton used his acceptance speech to call for Mr Johnson “to go, and go now”, claiming his victory had “sent a shockwave through British politics”.

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

He said that “every day Boris Johnson clings to office he brings further shame, chaos and neglect”.

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