Big blow for Boris Johnson as Liberal Democrats win Tiverton and Honiton by-elections

The Liberal Democrats won the Tiverton and Honiton by-elections.

In another heavy blow for Boris Johnson, the party managed to overturn a majority of the 24,000 Conservative Party to win the Devon seat by 6,144 votes in an extraordinary swing of 30 per cent.

Liberal Democrat candidate Richard Forward received 22,537 votes, Conservative Helen Horford polled 16,393 and Labour’s Liz Poole polled 1,562.

In the 2019 general election, the Liberal Democratic Party came third after the Conservative Party and Labor.

The dramatic result was announced just minutes after the Conservative Labor Party was defeated to regain the Red Wall seat in Wakefield.

It is the first time a ruling party has twice lost by-elections on the same day since 1991, when John Major was prime minister.

This is the third Lib Democratic by-election victory over the Conservatives in a year, after winning North Shropshire in December and Chesham and Amersham last June.

The recent crushing losses will add to the pressure on Johnson, less than three weeks after 148 lawmakers voted against a motion of confidence in his leadership.

Although it is not unusual for governments to lose by-elections, the sheer scale of the upheaval in the fortunes of the Conservative Party since 2019 will worry MPs who now believe their seats are in jeopardy.

Johnson, who is in Rwanda for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Summit, yesterday dismissed suggestions that he would have to resign if he lost the by-election.

“I will be watching the results with interest, but I am always optimistic and buoyant, but most seasoned political observers know that midterm by-elections are not necessarily easy for any government,” he said.

Tiverton and Honiton by-elections were called after Neil Parrish resigned as Conservative MP after he admitted watching porn in the House of Commons.

The Liberal Democratic Party declared victory more than an hour before the result was officially announced.

A party spokesperson said: “Residents of Tiverton and Honiton have spoken out for the country. This is a historic victory for the Liberal Democrats and a devastating blow to those Conservative MPs who continue to support Boris Johnson.”

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