North Shropshire by-election: Conservatives beaten by Lib Dems
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In a by-election blow to the Prime Minister, the Conservatives lost the North Shropshire seat they had held since 1832 to the Liberal Democrats. Victorious Lib Dem candidate Helen Morgan overturned a Tory majority of almost 23,000, to win the seat by 6,000 votes. The historic swing prompted political commentator Tom Newton Dunn to say there was “no such thing as a safe Tory seat” moving forwards.
Sarah Olney MP, Lib Dem Business Spokesperson and winner of the Richmond Park by-election, told Express.co.uk: “Conservative MPs will be quaking in their boots today.
“The Liberal Democrats are in a close second place in dozens of Conservative Blue Wall seats across the country.
“The Blue Wall is crumbling before Boris Johnson’s eyes.
“This really is the nightmare before Christmas for Boris Johnson and what feels like the beginning of the end of his awful stint as Prime Minister.
“For far too long the Conservative party has taken people for granted and failed to deliver for communities.
“The voters in North Shropshire were heard loud and clear last night.
“This Conservative Government has failed to deliver a fair deal for North Shropshire, from underfunding local health services to shortchanging British farmers.”
The Lib Dems say they are confident they will be able to replicate the victory in more marginal Tory seats.
They are already a close second in dozens of Conservative-held seats up and down the country which would require less of a swing to secure than the 34 percent seen in North Shropshire.
Seats such as Winchester and Cheltenham would require less than 1,000 votes to turn yellow in the next election.
In London, there are only 600 votes between the Lib Dems and power in Wimbledon and Carshalton and Wallington.
A five percent swing from the electorate in Cheadle or South Cambridgeshire could also send more Lib Dems sailing into Parliament while a two percent shift could oust Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab from Esher and Walton.
The Blue Wall is already beginning to crack, not only in Chesham and Amersham which flipped in June, but across stalwart Tory councils.
In May 2021, the party gained control councils in Oxfordshire, Cambridge, Surrey and Wiltshire – pillars of the Blue Wall.
In the wake of her victory, North Shropshire MP Ms Morgan commented: “If we can win in North Shropshire, we can win anywhere.”
She attributed much of flipping the former ‘true-Blue’ seat to voters feeling “taken for granted” by the governing party.
The vote came at a turbulent time for the Conservatives who have been mired in allegations of sleaze and scandals.
The historic by-election was prompted by the resignation of former Northern Ireland Secretary Owen Paterson, who was found to have breached lobbying rules after two companies paid him more than £100,000-a-year.
The Prime Minister has also come under fire for alleged lockdown-breaking parties which reportedly took place in his Downing Street address and for breaking electoral rules to furnish the same address.
To make matters worse, the dramatic North Shropshire defeat comes only days after a 99 strong backbench MP revolt against the introduction of new restrictions to curb the Omicron Covid variant.
Reflecting on the by-election and the rebellion, veteran Conservative MP Sir Roger Gale said: “I think this has to be seen as a referendum on the Prime Minister’s performance and I think that the Prime Minister is now in ‘last orders’ time.
“Two strikes already, one earlier this week in the vote in the Commons and now this. One more strike and he’s out.”
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