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By-election news - live: PM loses backing of more Tory MPs after disastrous defeats

Senior Tory MP says PM’s fall from power ‘is now a question of when, not if’

Boris Johnson fails to deny he offered Carrie Symonds top job

Boris Johnson’s support among Tory MPs has ebbed to an all-time low after the Conservatives suffered two crushing by-election losses on Thursday.

Following the double defeats in Tiverton and Wakefield, one senior Conservative MP, who backed Mr Johnson in the no-confidence vote earlier this month, told The Independent that they had now changed their mind.

“I voted for Boris last time but I just can’t see any way out of it for him right now,” they said.

“It is now a question of when, not if. The public have made up their minds. We got it wrong in hanging on to John Major in the nineties and we can’t get it wrong a second time with Johnson.”

The former Tory leader Michael Howard has also urged Mr Johnson to step down, while a cabinet minister admitted that “the mood has shifted”. 

Their statements came after the Tory party chairman Oliver Dowden resigned, citing the “disappointment” of the public over the Partygate scandal. “Someone must take responsibility,” he said.

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Will tactical voting mean defeat for the Conservatives at the next general election?

The good news for Labour and the Liberal Democrats is that the two latest by-elections show voters are doing it by themselves, writes Andrew Grice. But will it become a widespread practice?

Analysis: Will tactical voting mean defeat for the Tories at the next election?

The good news for Labour and the Liberal Democrats is that the two latest by-elections show voters are doing it by themselves, writes Andrew Grice. But will it become a widespread practice?

Emily Atkinson25 June 2022 03:00
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Starmer joins condemnation of Roe v Wade scrapping

Sir Keir Starmer has lent his voice to the vehement and widespread criticism of a decision to scrap the constitutional right to abortion in the US, calling it “devastating”.

The US Supreme Court has ended constitutional protections for abortion that have been in place for nearly 50 years by deciding to overturn the landmark Roe v Wade ruling.

The Labour leader tweeted on Friday evening: “Today’s devastating Supreme Court decision is a massive setback for women’s rights in the United States of America.

“The right of women to make their own decisions about their own bodies is a fundamental human right.”

Emily Atkinson25 June 2022 02:00
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Watch: Government ‘won’t crumple’ in face of poor by-election results, says PM

PM: Government ‘won’t crumple’ in face of poor by-election results
Emily Atkinson25 June 2022 01:00
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Jess Philips MP: ‘Wakefield voters chose Labour – the Tories should be honest about why’

Normally, Boris Johnson’s cabinet is desperately hunting around trying to find talking points that will divide the good people of the United Kingdom, but this week they have successfully delivered something to unify people from both the north and south of England. Rural communities and urban centres alike have lost patience with this government.

Of course, the Tories were busy spinning the reasons for their monumental failures in the by-elections in Wakefield and Tiverton and Honiton. My favourite came before the results were even in, when Tory MPs took to the airwaves to say that anything less than a massive swing to Labour would be a failure for the Labour Party.

In a moment of rare honesty for the governing party, they genuinely thought that their best defence in the face of losses was to say: “God, we are so very bad and hated at the moment, we should have lost by more votes.”

Read more from Labour’s Jess Philips here:

Wakefield voters chose Labour – the Tories should be honest about why | Jess Phillips

The problem is Boris Johnson and 12 years of failure. It wasn’t some non-existent pact between Labour and the Lib Dems

Emily Atkinson25 June 2022 00:00
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Labour says PM has ‘embarrassing lack of influence within Commonwealth’

Shadow foreign secretary David Lammy has called the rejection of Boris Johnson’s bid by Commonwealth leaders to oust secretary-general Baroness Scotland a “humiliating diplomatic failure” for the PM.

The prime minister had backed Jamaican foreign minister Kamina Johnson Smith to replace the Labour peer in the role as the public face of the 54-nation body.

But allies rejected Mr Johnson’s move and re-elected Baroness Scotland for a second term during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting on Friday.

Responding to the news, Mr Lammy said: “This was a divisive campaign and a humiliating diplomatic failure for Boris Johnson that illustrates his embarrassing lack of influence within the Commonwealth.”

Emily Atkinson24 June 2022 23:00
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Watch: Former Tory leader Michael Howard says Johnson should resign after by-election defeat

Former Tory leader Michael Howard says Johnson should resign after by-election defeat
Emily Atkinson24 June 2022 22:00
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How Tory plot to topple Boris Johnson could play out

A week ago ministerial allies of Boris Johnson were insisting that losses in the Tiverton and Wakefield by-elections were already “priced in”. The results would not matter, they insisted, because no one expected them to win. It did not quite work out that way.

Less than two hours after the scale of the disastrous defeats became apparent, one of Boris Johnson’s most publicly loyal allies, party chairman Oliver Dowden, quit. Shortly afterwards, former Conservative leader Michael Howard became the latest senior Tory to call on the prime minister to resign. And yet still Mr Johnson limps on.

Our Whitehall editor Kate Devlin and economics editor Anna Isaac have the details:

How Tory plot to topple Boris Johnson could play out

Insiders say a second no-confidence vote among MPs would now produce a very different result from the first

Emily Atkinson24 June 2022 21:41
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Overturning of Roe v Wade a ‘sad day for the US’, says UK

Today was a “momentous and sad day for the United States”, the UK chairwoman of Democrats Abroad, the official organisation of the Democratic Party for US Citizens living overseas, has said.

Speaking at a protest outside the US embassy in London, Wen-Wen Lindroth said: “I’m about the same age as Roe v Wade and, you know, I think a lot of women of my generation, we just took it for granted that the struggle for women’s rights, you know, had come a very long way, maybe not all the way, but this was certainly one of the fundamental decisions that, you know, underlies our sense of equality in the US.

“So to have it taken away is very meaningful and it will impact women, you know, of older generations, of younger generations certainly, and its just something that we’re going to need to address politically and find a way to turn back.”

Emily Atkinson24 June 2022 21:22
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Jess Phillips: Wakefield voters chose Labour – the Tories should be honest about why

The government should admit the public are tired of its rule, Jess Phillips has said.

Writing after her party beat the Conservatives in the Wakefield by-election and the Lib Dems overcame a Tory majority in the Tiverton & Honiton by-election, the Labour MP said:

The problem is Boris Johnson and 12 years of failure. It wasn’t some non-existent pact between Labour and the Lib Dems. It was because people in wildly different parts of our country decided to use their votes, completely of their own volition, to send a message that they think that the prime minister and his government have failed. Simple.

Wakefield voters chose Labour – the Tories should be honest about why | Jess Phillips

The problem is Boris Johnson and 12 years of failure. It wasn’t some non-existent pact between Labour and the Lib Dems

Rory Sullivan24 June 2022 20:58
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PM denies abandoning Commonwealth nations during pandemic

Britain did not abandon Commonwealth countries during the coronavirus crisis, Boris Johnson has said.

After admitting that the UK could always have done more, he said the country had played a “pretty remarkable” role in distributing vaccines around the world.

“I think that is a great, great thing,” he said.

Rory Sullivan24 June 2022 20:40

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