- UK Conservatives lost Wakefield, Tiverton and Honiton in by-elections.
- The result is a major blow to Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
- His government has been plagued by scandal.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party was defeated in two parliamentary by-elections on Friday after a historic collapse in support, in a fresh blow for the embattled leader that will likely renew speculation about his future.
The losses – one in the Conservatives’ traditional southern heartlands and in a northern England seat won from Labour last election – suggest that the electoral coalition Johnson brought together at the 2019 national election may be fracturing after months of scandal and amid a growing cost-of-living crisis.
Johnson has come under intense pressure to resign after he was fined for breaking Covid-19 lockdown rules after a police investigation into gatherings at his Downing Street offices.
This month, he survived a vote of confidence by Conservative lawmakers, though 41% of his parliamentary colleagues voted to oust him, and he is under investigation by a committee over whether he intentionally misled Parliament.
The Conservatives lost a majority of more than 24 000 votes in Tiverton and Honiton, in a deeply Conservative part of southwest England, defeated by the centrist Liberal Democrats who secured a majority of more than 6 000.
‘Loud and clear message’
The Liberal Democrats said it was the biggest ever majority to be overturned at a British parliamentary by-election, suggesting that other Conservative lawmakers may be at risk of losing their seats in the party’s southern heartlands.
The winning Lib Dem candidate Richard Foord said in his victory speech:
Tonight, the people of Tiverton and…