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United Kingdom: electoral setback for Boris Johnson


Very bad news for the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson: his Conservative Party suffered two heavy defeats, Thursday, June 23, during partial parliamentary elections which were held simultaneously in Wakefield, in Yorkshire (north of England), and at Tiverton and Honiton in Devon (in the South West).

Two slaps that further weaken a leader shaken by a vote of confidence in early June, which he narrowly survived, and which many political commentators now consider to be on borrowed time. Friday morning, taking note of these electoral humiliations, Oliver Dowden, the president of the tories, resigned, reinforcing the doubts on the internal supports for Mr. Johnson.

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers “Partygate”: Boris Johnson obtains the confidence of Conservative MPs, but comes out of the vote very weakened

Wakefield, a constituency briefly won by the Conservatives in the 2019 general election, was taken over by Labour, who regained their rights in an ex-industrial region commonly referred to by experts as a “red wall”. In Devon, a rural land, acquired from the Tories for nearly a century and an integral part of the “blue wall” (the conservative strongholds), voters preferred a Liberal Democrat candidate. The latter, Richard Foord, a 44-year-old ex-soldier, managed to completely turn the tide, winning the election with a 6,000-vote lead, while his predecessor in this position, Neil Parish, had won with a huge majority, 24,000 votes, just three years earlier.

Liberal Democrat by-election candidate Richard Foord during his victory speech in Crediton, Devon, UK, June 24, 2022.

“This is a historic result that shakes British politics, enthused Richard Foord on Friday morning. Voters have spoken, they have sent a clear and powerful message to Boris Johnson: he is running the country chaotically, carelessly and shamefully, it is time for him to go”added the lucky winner, until now completely unknown to the media.

“The country deserves better”

In Yorkshire, the Labor victory was expected, but the Labor candidate, Simon Lightwood, an employee of the NHS, the British public health system, won with a very comfortable majority of 5,000 votes. “The voters of Wakefield have demonstrated that the country has lost faith in Boris Johnson, this vote is a clear sanction against a Conservative Party which no longer has any energy or ideas, the country deserves better”asserted Keir Starmer, the leader of Labour, the main opposition force to the tories, which benefits from “Partygate”, the holiday scandal in Downing Street in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, and in the lead for almost six months in all national opinion polls.

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