Boris Johnson facing humiliating double by-election blow

Labour was victorious in Wakefield and the Liberal Democrats said they have overturned a 24,000 Tory majority to win in Devon.

24 June 2022

Boris Johnson looks to have suffered a double by-election defeat as Labour won Wakefield and the Liberal Democrats claimed to have secured a historic victory in Tiverton and Honiton.

The contests, triggered by the resignation of disgraced Tories, offered voters the chance to give their verdict on the Prime Minister just weeks after 41% of his own MPs cast their ballots against him.

In Wakefield, Simon Lightwood was elected with a majority of 4,925.

Tiverton and Honiton by-election
The Liberal Democrats’ by-election candidate Richard Foord (left) poses for a photograph with his wife Kate after they cast their votes (Andrew Matthews/PA)

The previous Wakefield MP Imran Ahmad Khan quit after being found guilty of sexually assaulting 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 Labour since the 1930s.

With official results yet to be declared in Tiverton and Honiton, the Liberal Democrats claimed victory for candidate Richard Foord in the Devon seat – which had been held with a majority of more than 24,000 by the Tories in 2019.

Neil Parish – the Tory MP who had more than 60% of the vote in 2019 – resigned after admitting he had watched pornography on his phone in the House of Commons.

Wakefield by-election
Party officials observe the count at Thornes Park Stadium in Wakefield (Danny Lawson/PA)

A Lib Dem spokesman said: “This is looking like a clear win. The people of Tiverton and Honiton have spoken up for the country.

“This is an historic victory for the Liberal Democrats and a devastating blow for those Conservative MPs who continue to prop up Boris Johnson.”

Mr Johnson, who is at a Commonwealth leaders’ summit in Rwanda, suggested it would be “crazy” for him to quit if the party lost the two seats and said mid-term by-elections were “never necessarily easy for any government”.

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