Tories take kicking in 2 UK by-elections

Rishi Sunak’s party cheers Uxbridge result — but swallows hefty defeats in Selby and Ainsty and in Somerton and Frome.

LONDON — Rishi Sunak’s Conservatives suffered hefty by-election defeats in two seats once considered safe for the party — but the U.K. prime minister can breathe a sigh of relief after clinging on to Boris Johnson’s former seat of Uxbridge and South Ruislip.

Conservatives woke up Friday having seen healthy majorities wiped out in the constituencies of Selby and Ainsty, where they ceded a House of Commons seat to Labour, and in Somerton and Frome, where they took a kicking from the Liberal Democrats.

But the Conservatives, who are languishing in the national polls and had been braced for a clean sweep of defeats, were given something to cheer in the outer London seat of Uxbridge, Johnson’s former turf, where Labour failed to make a gain. Sunak said the result showed the next general election is not a “done deal.”

In Selby — where a by-election was triggered by the sudden resignation of Johnson’s ally Nigel Adams — Labour overturned a 20,137 Tory majority with a 23.7 percent swing to Starmer’s party. It’s the largest Conservative majority Labour has overturned in a by-election since 1945. Labour leader Keir Starmer claimed it as a sign his opposition party is now “focused entirely on the priorities of working people.”

An even bigger swing in Somerton and Frome saw the Liberal Democrats snatch the rural seat, in only the latest by-election loss for the Tories in one of their so-called blue wall heartlands. Lib Dem leader Ed Davey quipped that he is “really starting to like by-elections.”

But local anger over the planned expansion of London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone, a clean air plan that hits drivers with new charges. under the city’s Labour mayor helped Sunak’s Tories hold on to Uxbridge by just 495 votes, despite an increase in the Labour vote.

That’s a disappointment for Labour leader Keir Starmer whose party had made bold claims about taking Johnson’s old seat and fought a long campaign to do so.

“Westminster has been acting like the next general election is a done deal, the Labour Party has been acting like it’s a done deal, the people of Uxbridge just showed them it is not,” said Sunak on a Friday morning visit to the seat.

‘Deep electoral trouble’

Pollster John Curtice of the University of Strathclyde said the by-election results on the whole looked grim for the Conservatives.

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5 Responses to “Tories take kicking in 2 UK by-elections”

  1. Tapestry says:

    This is main media material. Tap is alternative media needing alternative angles. Alternativeview would require no mention of the main parties in its reporting surely. What is in this post that you can’t find in every main new channel?

    • Chris x says:

      I thought that reporting the result and the defeat of the Tories in 2 out of 3 by-elections would be relevant news. It is a sign that people still vote for the 3 main parties instead of the others which means more of the same in the general election which is a shame.

    • pete fairhurst 2 says:

      I agree Tap, this article is mainstream pap. Which is not Tap News material at all

      You didn’t link to the source either Chris as far as I can see. Who is the author?

      The source link is important, because it allows readers to do their own research more easily. Note the foot of each page on Tap News:
      “Articles posted here are for your consideration at your discretion. No purported facts have been verified”