The authority of Prime Minister Boris Johnson is an “exception,” a former Conservative MP said after the government party lost two by-elections.
“[Johnson’s] authority is greatly reduced, ”Gavin Barwell told Sky News on Friday. “The Conservative Party turned to Boris Johnson because they saw him as an election winner, no. . . deep love or affection for him among conservative MPs.
“What we see is a process [Johnson’s] authority disappears, ”he said.
In Tiverton and Honiton, Devon, Liberal Democrat Richard Foord overturned the Conservative majority with 24,239 votes and won the local election with 6,144 votes. The Tories have had Tiverton and Honiton since its founding in 1997.
Elsewhere, Labor regained Wakefield after Simon Lightwood defeated his Conservative rival Nadeem Ahmed by 4,925 votes.
“If the Conservative Party continues as it is. . . it is walking in sleep to defeat at the next [general] elections, ”Lord Barwell said. “If a conservative party changes its leader and changes its direction. . . if he does those two things, he can still win.
“Tiverton’s result is disastrous,” he added. “It’s one of the safest conservative seats in the country.”
Lord Barwell said Tiverton was “a willing unit that strongly supports Leave” – a reference to the UK’s decision to leave the EU.
“So that the Liberal Democrats are winning there – and winning comfortably – that means the whole belt of seats in the south of the country is vulnerable,” he added.
Oliver Dowden was scheduled to perform on Sky, but resigned as party president early Friday.
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