Tory strategist poised for double defeat in by-election

Conservatives ready to lose two parliamentary by-elections, The move could spark a fresh backlash against Boris Johnson, according to senior party strategists.

Voters will head to the polls on Thursday in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, and Tiverton and Honeyton, Devon, in a by-election sparked by the resignation of Tory MPs.

This will be an opportunity for people to give Judgment on Prime Minister’s Conduct in the partygate scandal.

In April, Johnson became the first serving UK prime minister to be found guilty of a criminal offence after being fined by police for attending a birthday party in Downing Street during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Johnson survived a disastrous vote of no confidence in Conservative MPs this month, when 41% of parliamentary parties rejected him.

In Wakefield, the Conservatives are expected to lose to Labour.wakefield used to be Labour’s so-called ‘red wall’ The heart of northern England, but the Conservative Party has made substantial progress in the 2019 election under Johnson.

The Conservatives won Wakefield with a majority of 3,358 votes in 2019, but in April Conservative MP Imran Khan resigned after being convicted of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy.

In Tiverton, the Conservatives are facing a challenge from the Liberal Democrats, who are looking to capitalise on Johnson’s dwindling approval ratings.

The Conservatives won the seat with a majority of 24,239 votes in 2019, but Conservative MP Neil Parish resigned after admitting to viewing pornography on his mobile phone in the House of Commons.

A Conservative strategist in charge of two by-elections said the Lib Dems were on track to win Tiverton with a “substantial” majority, while Labour would win Wakefield, albeit by a narrow margin.

The strategist added that the by-election was sparked by the scandal surrounding incumbent Conservative MPs, and the party would naturally lose. “The mid-term government won’t win by-elections either,” he said.

Losing one or two by-elections is likely to lead to a new election On Johnson’s leadership, This is despite a Conservative rule that he cannot face another vote of no confidence for 12 months.

Liberal Democrat leader Ed David (right) and candidate Richard Ford outside party headquarters in Honeyton © Geoff Caddick/AFP/Getty Images

“We will have evidence that Boris is no longer popular. People will be calling for his resignation on Friday,” said one MP who declined to back the prime minister in a no-confidence vote this month.

Sir John Curtis, a professor of political science at the University of Strathclyde, said Wakefield “should be an easy win for Labour” given the party’s performance in the May local election and the Conservatives’ narrow margin.

Curtis added: “Tiverton and Honeyton should be harder for the Lib Dems than Wakefield is for Labour . . . the key test will be whether disgruntled Conservative voters are willing to use the Lib Dems for the vote in protest.”

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed David said his party could be “on the verge of a historic victory” in Tiverton, adding that “every vote will now count” between the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives.

Some Conservative MPs campaigning in Tiverton said the party might hold on.

A minister said the Conservatives had better support in Tiverton than they did at the North Shropshire by-election in December. The Liberal Democrats took seats from the Conservatives.

But another Conservative MP said the party had “no chance” of winning in Tiverton.

Labor’s senior figures are optimistic about winning Wakefield back but caution against the vast majority.

“It’s going strong, but we’re very, very concerned about complacency and turnout,” said a member of Sir Kilstarmer’s shadow cabinet. “It’s over [a majority of] 1000 would be a huge achievement. “

Another shadow cabinet member said: “Any majority below 5,000 is not good for taking back the Red Wall.”

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