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Conservative Party Chairman Oliver Dowden announced his resignation to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday after two bitter defeats in parliamentary by-elections. Results which risk further weakening a “BoJo” already much criticized within his party since the “partygate”, the affair of the parties watered in Downing Street during the confinements.
The chairman of the British Conservative Party, Oliver Dowden, announced his resignation to Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday June 24, after a series of “very poor” electoral results, including the defeats of the Tories in two partial parliamentary elections on Thursday.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s ruling Tories have suffered two major setbacks, including in a constituency in south-west England that has been Tory-held for more than a century.
The centrist Liberal Democrats overturned the Tory majority to win Tiverton and Honiton, a constituency in South West England that has been conservative since its inception in 1997, by more than 6,000 votes.
The Labor Party, the main opposition party, recovered by nearly 5,000 votes the constituency of Wakefield, in the north of England, a traditionally Labor stronghold seized by the Tories during their triumph in December 2019.
The votes took place on Thursday after two resignations by former Conservative MPs who had fallen out of favor in recent months.
The Wakefield ballot was triggered by the resignation of MP Imran Khan, sentenced to eighteen months in prison for the sexual assault of a teenager. In Tiverton and Honiton, 65-year-old MP Neil Parish tendered his resignation after admitting watching pornography on his phone in Parliament.
Two weeks after surviving a vote of no confidence in the wake of “partygate” – the affair of the drunken parties in Downing Street during the confinements – these results risk further accentuating the climate of distrust within the majority. .
However, Boris Johnson had ruled out Thursday, when he was in Rwanda for a Commonwealth summit, to resign in the event of defeat.
Johnson on an ejection seat
In speeches hailing their victories, the two newly elected MPs said Britain had lost faith in Boris Johnson and urged him to step down.
Opposition and Labor leader Keir Starmer, who is considering replacing Boris Johnson as prime minister after the next general election due in 2024, has claimed Wakefield ‘could be the birthplace of the next Labor government’ .
“Wakefield has shown that the country has lost faith in the Tories,” he said in a statement. “This result is a clear verdict on a conservative party that is running out of energy and ideas.”
Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey said his party had made “political history with this stunning victory” and it was a “wake-up call for all those Tory MPs who support Boris Johnson”.
“The people of Tiverton and Honiton have spoken on behalf of the country,” he added. “The public is fed up with Boris Johnson’s lies and breaches of law, and it’s time Tory MPs finally do the right thing and fire him.”
Boris Johnson has spent months fighting for his survival after a series of controversies, including that of “Partygate”, which undermined his legitimacy as leader of the party.
>> To (re) read on France 24: Partygate: the dates of the scandal which weakens Boris Johnson
Even before controversy erupted in December, the 58-year-old Brexit architect lost two once-secure seats in a by-election in 2021. He then scored dismal in May’s local elections.
Weeks later, dozens of Tory MPs triggered a vote of no confidence in Boris Johnson, and more than 40% of them turned their backs on their struggling leader.
The context is proving unfavorable for his government, with inflation at its highest for 40 years – exceeding 9% – at the origin of a massive and historic strike by railway workers, and the recent failure of a controversial attempt to expel migrants to Rwanda.