THE Tory Party has lost the ‘farming country’ North Shropshire seat’ that it has held for nearly 200 years to the Liberal Democrats, in a by-election kick in the guts for PM Boris Johnson.
The winner Lib Dem Helen Morgan overturned a Tory majority of almost 23,000, declaring that the ‘party is over’ for the PM.
The Shropshire farming area feels that Johnson’s ‘Levelling Up’ campaign has seen their prospects plummet, and their conclusion is that Johnson must go!
Tory MP Sir Roger Gale echoed that sentiment when he said yesterday early morning that the PM was on ‘last orders’.
For good measure he added ‘One more strike and he’s out,’ adding that the by-election ‘has to be seen as a referendum on the prime minister’s performance’.
Conservative Party chairman Oliver Dowden said: ‘I know that the voters of North Shropshire are fed up and they wanted to give us a kicking… We’ve heard that message loud and clear.’
The by-election followed the resignation of Owen Paterson, the MP for North Shropshire since 1997, who was found to have breached parliamentary rules on lobbying.
In her victory speech, Morgan, who won by 5,925 votes, said: ‘Tonight, the people of North Shropshire have spoken on behalf of the British people. They have said loudly and clearly, “Boris Johnson, the party is over”.
‘Your government, run on lies and bluster, will be held accountable. It will be scrutinised, it will be challenged and it can and will be defeated.’
Fourteen candidates stood in Thursday’s by-election. Morgan took 17,957 votes, with Conservative Dr Neil Shastri-Hurst amassing 12,032 and Labour’s Ben Wood coming third with 3,686.
As far as the Tory right wing is concerned the result is just what they wanted and no doubt a letter is being draw up with over a hundred signatures to the chairman of the House of Commons 1922 Committee requesting a Tory leadership election.
The North Shropshire result saw a the seventh biggest swing – 34.2% – in a by-election since World War Two.
It is the second loss of a former Conservative stronghold to the Lib Dems since the general election, when the the party seized Chesham and Amersham, in Buckinghamshire, with a 25% swing in July.
Earlier this month, the Tories held Old Bexley and Sidcup in a by-election following the death of MP James Brokenshire, but the majority was cut from nearly 19,000 to 4,478, with a 10% swing to Labour.
The North Shropshire seat goes back to the 1830s and, until Friday, had always had a Tory MP.
The by-election took place just two days after Boris Johnson experienced his biggest rebellion in office, when 100 Conservative MPs voted against the government’s proposals to introduce Covid passes in England.
Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey, who is currently self-isolating after testing positive for coronavirus, said the result was a ‘watershed moment in our politics’’.
‘Millions of people are fed up with Boris Johnson and his failure to provide leadership throughout the pandemic and last night the voters of North Shropshire spoke for all of them,’ he added.
Labour, however, which came second in North Shropshire at the 2019 election, saw its share of the vote fall from 22.1% to 9.7%.
Dave Wiltshire the secretary of the All Trades Unions Alliance told News Line: ‘It won’t be long before the furniture van calls at 10 Downig Street to take Johnson and his luggage away from the scene of the crime.
‘The TUC and the trade unions must now take action.
‘They must call a general strike to force the Tory government to resign.
‘They must establish a workers government that will nationalise the banks and the major industries under workers management to resolve the crisis of capitalism by getting rid of the bosses, and bringing in a socialist nationalised and planned economy.’
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