Conservative Party chairman Oliver Dowden has resigned after the celebration slumped to 2 by-election defeats.
Mr Dowden mentioned in a letter to Boris Johnson that the defeats have been “the latest in a run of very poor results” and added: “We cannot carry on with business as usual.”
He is the primary Cabinet minister to fall on his sword within the wake of the stress swirling across the prime minister over the partygate scandal – which has already prompted 148 Tory MPs to oppose the PM in a vote of no confidence.
In a letter to Mr Dowden, the PM mentioned he understood the MP’s “disappointment” on the by-election defeats, however mentioned the federal government had a “historic mandate” to control.
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The Conservatives noticed a majority of 24,000, or greater than 40%, evaporate in Honiton and Tiverton, the place they have been defeated by the Liberal Democrats – a report reversal for the celebration.
They additionally misplaced Wakefield, the “red wall” seat snatched by the Tories in 2019, which went again to Labour.
Mr Dowden – who had been attributable to seem on the published spherical of interviews this morning – mentioned: “Our supporters are distressed and disappointed by recent events, and I share their feelings.
“We can’t keep on with enterprise as normal.
“Somebody must take responsibility and I have concluded that, in these circumstances, it would not be right for me to remain in office.”
He added that it was a “deeply personal decision” and that he would “as always, remain loyal to the Conservative Party”.
Sky News’ political editor, Beth Rigby, understands the resignation took Mr Johnson abruptly.
A supply near the prime minister mentioned he took a quick name from Mr Dowden shortly after he had made his choice public.
Sources near the PM emphasised he was blindsided by the information, significantly as the previous chairman had been getting ready PMQs with him on Wednesday, and had warned they have been more likely to lose each by-elections.
The hammering for the Tories was Mr Johnson’s newest electoral mauling after the celebration misplaced practically 500 council seats in native elections initially of final month.
They additionally suffered shock outcomes when the Liberal Democrats overturned huge Conservative majorities in North Shropshire and Chesham and Amersham final yr.
The fall-out from the most recent votes comes with the PM hundreds of miles away in Rwanda the place he’s attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government convention.
He mentioned forward of the consequence that it might be “crazy” for him to give up if the Tories misplaced the 2 seats.
And after the defeats, he caught to his weapons, saying it was regular for governments to be “punished at the polls” in the course of their time period.
Simon Lightwood, who received the Wakefield by-election for Labour, mentioned: “I think people are absolutely tired of the lies and deceit we’ve seen from the prime minister and they’re demanding change and tonight is the demonstration of that.”
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Richard Foord who took Tiverton and Honiton for the Lib Dems used his acceptance speech to name for Mr Johnson “to go, and go now”, claiming his victory had “sent a shockwave through British politics”.
Labour chief Sir Keir Starmer mentioned: “Wakefield has shown the country has lost confidence in the Tories.
“This result’s a transparent judgement on a Conservative Party that has run out of power and concepts.”
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Liberal Democrat chief Sir Ed Davey mentioned: “This should be a wake-up call for all those Conservative MPs propping up Boris Johnson. They cannot afford to ignore this result.
“The public is sick of Boris Johnson’s lies and law-breaking and it is time for Conservative MPs to lastly do the correct factor and sack him.”
The by-elections, both in leave-voting constituencies, took place on the sixth anniversary of the Brexit referendum.
They were each triggered by the resignations of Conservative MPs: in Tiverton and Honiton, Neil Parish quit after he admitted to watching pornography on his mobile phone in the Commons chamber; in Wakefield, Imran Ahmad Khan stepped down after being found guilty of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy.
It became apparent soon after polls closed that it would be a bad night for the Tories.
Luke Hall, the party’s deputy chair, told Sky News it had been a “difficult marketing campaign” and pointed to the impact of divisions laid bare by the confidence vote.
“I definitely would settle for that disunity in political events means events don’t win elections,” he mentioned.