Here are the results of the Tiverton and Honiton byelection in full.
Richard Foord (LD) 22,537 (52.91%, +38.14%)
Helen Hurford (C) 16,393 (38.49%, -21.72%)
Liz Pole (Lab) 1,562 (3.67%, -15.88%)
Gill Westcott (Green) 1,064 (2.50%, -1.34%)
Andy Foan (Reform) 481 (1.13%)
Ben Walker (UKIP) 241 (0.57%, -1.06%)
Jordan Donoghue-Morgan (Heritage) 167 (0.39%)
Frankie Rufolo (FB) 146 (0.34%)
LD maj 6,144 (14.43%)
29.93% swing C to LD
Electorate 81,661; Turnout 42,591 (52.16%, -19.71%)
2019: C maj 24,239 (40.66%) – Turnout 59,613 (71.86%)
Parish (C) 35,893 (60.21%); Pole (Lab) 11,654 (19.55%); Timperley (LD) 8,807 (14.77%); Reed (Green) 2,291 (3.84%); Dennis (UKIP) 968 (1.62%)
Good morning. The Conservatives have suffered two devastating byelection defeats (which was expected) and a senior Tory has resigned (which was not expected). But it is not the figure most responsible for the party’s plight. Instead, Oliver Dowden has quit from his post as Conservative party co-chair.
Labour was seen as a dead cert to win Wakefield, which had been a Labour seat since the second world war until the 2019 election, but they won with a very healthy swing of almost 13%. But the Tories also lost Tiverton and Honiton to the Liberal Democrats. On one measure, this is is the worst byelection defeat in modern electoral history, because never before has such a large majority been overturned. The swing from the Conservatives to the Lib Dems was almost 30%.
Here is my colleague Peter Walker’s story about the results.
And here is an extract from Dowden’s resignation letter to the PM.
Yesterday’s parliamentary byelections are the latest in a run of very poor results for our party. Our supporters are distressed and disappointed by recent events, and I share their feelings.
We cannot carry on with business as usual. Somebody must take responsibility and I have concluded that, in these circumstances, it would not be right for me to remain in office.
The reference to feeling “distressed and disappointed” by recent events reads like an attack on Boris Johnson’s conduct over Partygate, and there is nothing in the letter expressing support for the PM.
But Dowden’s resignation could turn out to be convenient for Johnson, in line with the way many organisations respond to a calamity by following the age-old principle “junior heads must roll”. Until now he has been loyal to Johnson; is he voluntarily playing the role of scapegoat?
I will be focusing almost exclusively on reaction to the result today.
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