Boris Johnson at the end of the “hopeful” by-election polls

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Ors Johnson insisted he was “full of hope and goodwill” as he awaited the results of two by-elections that could have significant implications for his leadership.

Polls have closed after contests in Wakefield and Tiwerton and Houghton over the disgraceful resignation of Conservative MPs.

With West Yorkshire challenging Labor on the Red Wall seat and the Liberal Democrats hoping to end the Conservative majority in Devon, the Tories’ defeat could raise further questions about Mr Johnson’s position, some of which Weeks later, 41% of their MPs said they did. Don’t trust it.

The prime minister will oversee the results from Rwanda, where he is attending a summit of Commonwealth leaders.

Speaking to broadcasters in the capital, Kigali, the prime minister said: “I will watch the results with interest but always full of hope and cheerfulness, but most experienced political observers know that mid-term by-elections will never happen. Not easy. For any government. “

He suggested that if the party lost two seats, it would be “crazy” for him to leave the party and claimed that he was “very optimistic” about the outcome.

In Wakefield, former Conservative MP Imran Ahmad Khan resigned after being found guilty of sexually abusing a 15-year-old boy – a crime for which he was sentenced to 18 months in prison.

Wakefield was one of the so-called Red Wall seats the Tories won in the 2019 general election after being a Labor stronghold since the 1930s, but Labor is now hoping to take it back.

In Devon’s Tiverton and Honiton, Neil Parish, a Tory MP since 2010, resigned after confessing to viewing pornographic material on his phone in the House of Commons.

The Liberal Democrats are a major challenger in this rural southwestern constituency, where they are hoping to win by-elections in North Shopshire in December and in Chesham and Emersham a year ago.

A victory for the Lib Dems would require a 24,239 Conservative majority to be overthrown, but party leader Sir Ed Dewey believed he was “neck and neck” with the Tories at the polls.

Residents are “fed up with Boris Johnson’s lies and neglect,” he said when asked to support his party’s candidate, former soldier Richard Ford.

The prime minister urged voters to “stand up for British food and agriculture” in support of former headteacher Tory Helen Harford.

The loss of Tory Garh will be seen as a sign of Mr Johnson’s declining electoral appeal in the aftermath of the party gate and the crisis of precious life, and could provoke further backlash against his authority.

With the Tories facing a tough challenge to retain the Wakefield seat, Labor is now struggling to break the 2019 Conservative majority of 3,358.

Tory candidate Nadeem Ahmed raised eyebrows last week, arguing that even after Mr Khan’s conviction for rape, voters should trust the party, as he did on the GP despite the mass murderer Heraldshipman’s crimes. Trust

Labor leader Sir Kerr Starmer has said a victory in the northern constituency could “be the birthplace of the next Labor government”.

At the start of the poll, he said: “People are fed up with Boris Johnson and the Conservative Party, which makes big promises but never keeps them.

“Labor candidate Simon Lightwood has launched a positive campaign – a plan to attract well-paying jobs and investments in Wakefield, to bring more police to the streets to deal with anti-social behavior, and the National Insurance We have to fight to end the unjust increase.

“But voting for someone other than Labor will take Boris Johnson off the hook. The people of Wakefield have a chance to send a message to the Tories that it’s over.

If the Conservatives lose both by-elections, it is only the seventh time since World War II that a government has suffered such a double defeat.