Boris Johnson suffers double humiliation before the election

Boris Johnson’s Tory leadership took a double hit as voters rejected the Conservatives in two by-elections.

In Tiverton and Honiton, the Liberal Democrats overturned a 24,000 Tory majority and won, while Labor reclaimed Wakefield.

Contests sparked by the resignation of the disgraced Tories gave voters the opportunity to hand down their verdict on the prime minister just weeks after 41% of his own MPs voted against him.

In Tiverton and Honiton, Neil Parish — the Conservative MP who won more than 60% of the vote in 2019 — resigned after admitting to watching pornography on his phone in the House of Commons.


Simon Lightwood on the campaign trail to be elected as the new MP for Wakefield (Danny Lawson/PA)

A jump of nearly 30% from Tories to Liberal Democrats saw Richard Furd win a majority of 6,144.

The new Liberal Democrat MP used his acceptance speech to urge Mr Johnson to “go away and go now”, saying his victory “shook British politics”.

Mr Foord said: “The people of Tiverton and Honiton have spoken out on behalf of Britain. They sent a loud and clear message – Boris Johnson has to leave, and leave now.”

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

In a message to the Prime Minister, Mr Foord, a former army major, said: “I can tell you that leadership means acting with integrity and integrity.

It means keeping your word. It means leading by example and putting other people’s needs ahead of your own. I served with friends who embodied these values ​​and gave their lives in the service of their country.

“And yet your behavior, Mr. Johnson, ridicules management. By any standard, you are not fit to lead. ”

The Liberal Democrats said Mr. Foord had overturned the largest majority in by-election history.

It was the sixth biggest turn against the government since 1945 in a by-election, with both the seat and the incumbent changing hands.

In Wakefield, Simon Lightwood was elected by a majority of 4,925, with a swing of 12.7% from Tory to Labor.


Liberal Democrat by-election candidate Richard Furd (left) poses for a photograph with his wife Kate after they voted (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Former Wakefield MP Imran Ahmad Khan stepped down after being found guilty of sexually abusing a 15-year-old boy, a crime for which he was jailed for 18 months.

Wakefield was one of the so-called Red Wall seats won by the Tories in the 2019 general election after being Labor since the 1930s.

Mr Lightwood said: “The people of Wakefield spoke for the British people.

“They said without reservation: Boris Johnson, your contempt for this country is no longer acceptable.”

Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer said: “Wakefield has shown that the country has lost confidence in the Tories.

“This result is a clear verdict on the Conservative Party, which has run out of energy and ideas. Britain deserves better.”

He said the result showed that Labor was “back on the side of the working people, got seats where they used to lose and are ready to go into government”.

Mr Johnson, who is at a Commonwealth leaders’ summit in Rwanda, suggested it would be “crazy” for him to leave if the party loses two seats and said the by-elections “have never been easy for any government.”