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Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party loses two elections

Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party loses two elections

LONDON –


British Prime Minister Boris Johnson suffered a double blow as voters rejected his Conservative Party in two special elections dominated by questions about his leadership and ethics.


The party’s chairman quit after the results early Friday, saying the party “cannot carry on with business as usual.”


The centrist Liberal Democrats overturned a big Conservative majority to win the rural southwest England seat of Tiverton and Honiton, while the main opposition Labour Party reclaimed Wakefield in northern England from Johnson’s Tories.


The contests, triggered by the resignations of Conservative lawmakers hit by sex scandals, offered voters the chance to give their verdict on the prime minister just weeks after 41% of his own MPs voted to oust him.


“The people of Tiverton and Honiton have spoken for Britain,” said the area’s newly elected Liberal Democrat lawmaker, Richard Foord. “They sent a loud and clear message: It’s time for Boris Johnson to go, and go now.”


Defeat in either district would have been a setback for the prime minister’s party. Losing both increases jitters among restive Conservatives who already worry the ebullient but erratic and divisive Johnson is no longer an electoral asset.

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Party chairman Oliver Dowden resigned, saying “our supporters are distressed and disappointed by recent events, and I share their feelings.”


“We cannot carry on with business as usual,” he said. “Somebody must take responsibility and I have concluded that, in these circumstances, it would not be right for me to remain in office.”


“I will, as always, remain loyal to the Conservative Party,” he said, without offering an endorsement of Johnson.


The prime minister was 4,000 miles (6,400 kilometres) away at a Commonwealth…

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