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by Joseph Anderson
24 June 2022
Conservatives handed heavy defeats in by-elections

Labour candidate Simon Lightwood celebrates winning the Wakefield by-election

Conservatives handed heavy defeats in by-elections

The Conservatives have been dealt two heavy defeats in English by-elections, at the hands of both Labour and the Liberal Democrats.

The Liberal Democrats won the Tiverton and Honiton constituency by-election, overturning a Conservative majority of more than 24,000 with a swing of almost 30 per cent.

The newly-elected MP Richard Foord took the seat from the Conservatives, after the by-election was triggered by the resignation of former Conservative MP Neil Parish, who admitted watching pornography in parliament.

Labour regained the Wakefield constituency it lost to the Conservatives in the 2019 general election, after the vote was triggered by the resignation of ex-Conservative MP Imran Ahmad Khan, who was jailed in May for sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy in 2008.

Simon Lightwood defeated Tory candidate Nadeem Ahmed by 4,925 votes, to overturn a majority of 3,358.

Prior to Khan's election in 2019, the Wakefield constituency had been held by Labour since the early 1930s.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said: "Wakefield has shown the country has lost confidence in the Tories.

"This result is a clear judgement on a Conservative Party that has run out of energy and ideas."         

The Labour leader said the result showed his party "is back on the side of working people, winning seats where we lost before, and ready for government".

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey said his party’s "stunning win" should be "a wake-up call for all those Conservative MPs propping up Boris Johnson" and they "cannot afford to ignore this result".

In a final blow to Johnson, the by-election losses have prompted the resignation of Conservative Party co-chair Oliver Dowden.

In a letter to Mr Johnson, Mr Dowden said Tory supporters were "distressed and disappointed".

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

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