Boris Johnson at risk as Tory party chairman resigns following by-election beatings OCN News

Boris Johnson suffered a double by-election defeat and saw the Conservative party chairman resign, saying the government ‘cannot carry on as business as usual’.

Oliver Dowden has resigned as Conservative Party co-chair following two expected by-election defeats in what could be the start of a cabinet rebellion against Johnson.

Voting results for the by-elections, held on the sixth anniversary of the Brexit referendum, came less than ten minutes apart either side of 4am on Friday.


In Wakefield, where a Labor victory was widely expected, Simon Lightwood won by 4,925 votes. The shift to work of just over eight per cent will be a boost for Keir Starmer who has been in the doldrums of late.

Former MP Imran Ahmad resigned after being found guilty of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy.

In the Devon constituency of Tiverton and Honiton, Richard Foord saw a massive 30% swing to the Lib Dems, winning 22,537 votes to 6,144 for the Conservatives.

More alarming than the Conservative defeats will be the scale of the tactical vote.

Oliver Dowden has resigned and said the Tories cannot carry on ‘business as usual’

Labor’s vote in Tiverton fell to just 1,562 votes and the Lib Dems came seventh in Wakefield as supporters abandoned traditional loyalties to form anti-Tory coalitions in both constituencies.

The results prompted the immediate resignation of Oliver Dowden who came out as the party’s election supremo aiming for a powerful assassination letter against Boris Johnson.

Dowden wrote: “Our supporters are saddened and disappointed by recent events, and I share their feelings.”

“We cannot carry on as if nothing had happened. Someone has to take responsibility and I concluded that in these circumstances it would not be fair for me to stay on.

The letter could prove more damaging to the prime minister than by-election defeats if other senior Tories act against him.

Before leaving for a Commonwealth summit in Rwanda on Thursday, Johnson said it would be “crazy” for him to resign if the by-elections were against him.

The Prime Minister survived a vote of no confidence earlier this month, with 148 Tory MPs voting to impeach him against 211 who backed him.

Tory MPs technically can’t act against the prime minister for a year, but if Dowden’s resignation letter triggers a coup, he could be in trouble.

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