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Tories lose two seats, pressure on Boris

Amid the Watergate scandal, the defeat is a huge jolt to Prime Minister
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson
File Picture

Mark Landler And Stephen Castle   |   London   |   Published 25.06.22, 04:02 AM

Britain’s governing Conservative Party lost two strategically important parliamentary seats on Friday,dealing a harsh blow to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and raising fresh doubts about his scandal-scarred leadership.

Voters in Tiverton and Honiton, a rural stretch of southwest England that is the party’s heartland, and in the faded northern industrial city of Wakefield evicted the Conservative Party from seats that had come open after lawmakers were brought downby scandals of their own.

In Wakefield, the Labour Party’s victory was widely expected, and it ran up a comfortable margin over the Conservatives.

In the south, which had been viewed as a toss-up, the Liberal Democratic Party scored a stunning upset, overcoming a huge Conservative majority in the last election to win the seat by a solid margin.

The double defeat after elections on Thursday is a stinging rebuke of Boris, who survived a no-confidence vote in his party earlier this month, precipitated by a scandal overillicit parties held at Downing Street during the coronavirus pandemic.

It will likely revive talk of another no-confidence vote, though, under the party’s current rules, Boris should not face another challenge until next June.

In an immediate sign of the political fallout, the chairman of the Conservative Party, Oliver Dowden, resigned on Friday morning.

In a letter sent to Boris less than two hours after the votes had been counted, Dowden said the party’s supporters were “distressed anddisappointed by recent events, and I share their feelings”.

Dowden’s letter professed his loyalty to the party, rather than to its leader. 

But on Thursday, before the results were tabulated, Boris told the BBC that itwould be “crazy” for him to resign. 

New York Times News Service

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