In major setback Conservative party suffers two parliamentary by-election defeats – UKMALAYALEE

In major setback Conservative party suffers two parliamentary by-election defeats

Friday 24 June 2022 7:54 AM UTC

LONDON June 24: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson suffered two crushing parliamentary by-election defeats on Friday, including in a southwest English seat previously held by his ruling Conservatives for over a century, prompting the party’s chairman to quit.

In a stunning reversal, the Tories saw their December 2019 general election majority of more than 24,000 votes overturned by the centrist Liberal Democrats in the Tiverton and Honiton constituency.

At the same time, the main Labour opposition regained the Westminster seat of Wakefield, in northern England, in a further sign of its resurgence following the party’s worst electoral performance in decades two and a half years ago.

The disastrous outcomes for the Conservatives are set to pile new pressure on the embattled Johnson, as the highly damaging “Partygate” scandal involving lockdown-breaching gatherings in Downing Street continues to plague him and his party.

They had been tipped to lose both by-elections and Johnson had already vowed on Thursday — while in Rwanda for a Commonwealth summit — that he would not resign if that occurred.

But the dire results, the latest in a string of electoral defeats for the Tories in the last year, led to the immediate resignation of the party’s chairman, Oliver Dowden.

The votes were held Thursday after the two areas’ former Tory MPs both resigned in disgrace in recent months.

Tiverton and Honiton’s ex-lawmaker Neil Parish quit after admitting watching pornography on his phone in the House of Commons, while Wakefield’s Imran Ahmad Khan was jailed for sexually assaulting a teenage boy.

The Liberal Democrats won Tiverton and Honiton — which had voted Conservative in every general election since the 1880s — by more than 6,000 votes, according to officials at a count centre in nearby town Crediton.

Meanwhile, in Wakefield — one of dozens of traditional Labour seats that Johnson took in 2019 on a promise to “get Brexit done” and address glaring regional economic inequalities — the opposition party won by nearly 5,000 votes.

Labour leader Keir Starmer, who is eyeing replacing Johnson as prime minister at the next general election due by 2024, said his party’s victory in one of its former heartland seats showed it could win back power for the first time in more than a decade.