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By election results live: Tories ‘doomed to lose power’ without change of course, warns Lord Frost

Rishi Sunak should ditch green policies, says Tory peer

William Mata,Matt Mathers
Saturday 22 July 2023 16:21 BST
By-elections: Rishi Sunak says next election is not a done deal

Rishi Sunak is “doomed to lose power” if he does not change course ahead of the next general election, a Conservative peer has said.

Lord David Frost, the former Brexit negotiator, pointed to Labour’s defeat in Uxbridge and South Ruislip as evidence green policies are not popular as he called on the prime minister to ditch net zero goals.

In a direct rebuke of Mr Sunak’s five priorities for government, Lord Frost argued that the Tories’ two by-election defeats showed that “sticking to the plan” was not working.

The peer, who supported Liz Truss’s leadership campaign and has announced he will stand as an MP, said Mr Sunak needed to give the public “something to vote for” as he called for tax cuts.

“Getting inflation down is important but won’t be enough,” he wrote in The Daily Telegraph.  “There is still time to change course, but it is running out.”

Elsewhere, Keir Starmer is delivering a speech to his party’s national policy forum this morning following, with Ulez and the controversial U-turn on child benefits police are likely to be discussed over the weekend.


Thanks for following along with our politics coverage today, we are pausing the blog for the day - but will be back with you for the Sunday morning shows.

Here is the latest on the by-election results:

Holly Bancroft22 July 2023 16:20

Watch live: Keir Starmer speaks in Selby and Ainsty after Labour’s Keir Mather wins seat

Watch live as Sir Keir Starmer speaks in Selby and Ainsty on Friday, 21 July, after Labour won the seat in Thursday’s by election.

Keir Mather will become the youngest MP in the Commons at 25 years old after overturning a 20,137 majority in the North Yorkshire constituency.

Labour said Mr Mather’s 4,161 majority in the seat was the highest majority the party had ever overturned in a by-election.

Live: Keir Starmer speaks in Selby and Ainsty after Labour’s Keir Mather wins seat

Watch live as Sir Keir Starmer speaks in Selby and Ainsty on Friday, 21 July, after Labour won the seat in Thursday's by election.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain21 July 2023 12:20

Labour’s Uxbridge chair quits and lashes out at Starmer

David Williams, chair of the Uxbridge and South Ruislip Constituency Labour Party (CLP), has resigned his role – lashing out at Keir Starmer’s leadership as he goes.

The left-winger tweeted: “Politics needs to have principles or we end up with people like Boris Johnson and Liz Truss running the country. Jeremy Corbyn gave a huge boost to the Labour Party.”

Maryam Zakir-Hussain21 July 2023 12:50

‘We hear you,’ Starmer insists to new Labour voters after ‘cry for change’ in Selby

Sir Keir Starmer sought to command a jubilant mood as he, Angela Rayner and his namesake Keir Mather addressed a crowd of supporters in Selby.

The Labour leader declared it “a day of firsts”, after Labour seized Selby and Ainsty for the first time in the constituency’s history and overturned its largest-ever majority at a by-election.

Insisting that he is “always saying ‘no complacency’”, he joked that today marked the “first time ever I can say ‘well done Keir’”, as he welcomed the party’s youngest MP.Greeted by an enthusiastic crowd of supporters at Selby Town Football Club, Sir Keir insisted to those who had issued a “cry for change” that “we hear you” – and claimed the result was “vindication” of the changes he has pushed through in his party.

But pressed by reporters on Labour’s failure to clinch Uxbridge and South Ruislip from the Tories – and asked whether Sadiq Khan should rethink his ULEZ expansion – Sir Keir said that all of those involved should reflect on the result.

Also taking to the small stage set up in cloudy Selby, Ms Rayner said the victory “in Rishi Sunak’s back garden” has “shown we can win in Tory areas as well”.Joking twice that it was “great to be in a Keir sandwich”, she insisted that Labour “knows Tory voters want a credible plan” and said that 25-year-old Mather “knows he has to work hard”, adding: “And the work starts now.”

Speaking just hours after clinching victory and a 4,000 majority, Mr Mather told those gathered that he would “work tirelessly to repay faith shown in him” by typical Tory voters, calling the challenge ahead “the privilege of my life”. After taking questions from broadcasters, the top Labour figures spoke briefly to the campaigners gathered to hear them before walking back across the football pitch and towards the town newly painted red.

Red alert: Sir Keir Starmer speaks at Selby Football Club
Red alert: Sir Keir Starmer speaks at Selby Football Club (Independent)
Andy Gregory21 July 2023 13:13

Khan: ‘We will listen to Londoners’ Mayor speaks after Uxbridge defeat

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said he intends to “listen to Londoners” following Labour’s loss at the Uxbridge and South Ruislip by-election.

The party’s deputy leader Angela Rayner has suggested Labour did not win Boris Johnson’s former seat because it did not “listen to the voters”’ concerns about Ulez.

When asked about this, Mr Khan told the PA news agency: “I think there are a variety of lessons in relation to the by-elections last night.

“I’m quite clear, I’m going to carry on doing what I have been doing over the past few years, which is to listen to Londoners on a whole range of issues, whether it is air pollution, climate change or the support they need to make that transition.

“It is because we are listening we launched the biggest scrappage scheme in the whole country without a penny of support from the Government.

“It’s because we are listening we widened the eligibility some weeks ago so that more Londoners are eligibile for the scrappage scheme. We are going to carry on listening.”

PA21 July 2023 13:33

Thornberry defends Labour against ‘untruthful’ ULEZ remarks

It is "untruthful" of the Tories to claim their "single issue" win in Uxbridge could be replicated across the country at a general election, a shadow cabinet member has said.

Labour's shadow attorney general Emily Thornberry told BBC Radio 4's World At One programme: "To claim that somehow or other you can extrapolate what happened in Uxbridge across the whole of the country when they themselves narrowed it down to one issue is just in the end untruthful.

"There is a truth out of this, which is that we can't be complacent and we need to work really hard and we have a long way to go. We have a mountain to climb, we know that and we will continue to work for it."

Shadow attorney general Emily Thornberry
Shadow attorney general Emily Thornberry (PA Archive)
PA21 July 2023 13:40

Lib Dems hail 'revenge of the farmers' for Tory by-election defeat

Senior Liberal Democrats believe the ‘revenge of the farmers’ help deliver their stunning by-election win in Somerset – and will help the party bring down part of the Conservative’s blue wall at the general election.

The party secured a huge victory in Somerton and Frome, overturning a majority of more than 19,000 votes.

Visiting the seat Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey fired a mock circus cannon in celebration as he declared it was “time to get these clowns out of No 10”.

Newly elected Liberal Democrat MP Sarah Dyke with party leader Sir Ed Davey in Frome, Somerset (Ben Birchall/PA)
Newly elected Liberal Democrat MP Sarah Dyke with party leader Sir Ed Davey in Frome, Somerset (Ben Birchall/PA) (PA Wire)
William Mata21 July 2023 13:45

Labour MP calls on Khan to ‘suspend’ Ulez expansion

Labour’s Siobhan McDonagh – MP for outer London seat Mitcham and Morden – called on Mr Khan to “suspend” the expansion and find a way to make sure “those with the broadest shoulders” carry the burden for any changes.

“I think Sadiq should suspend the start date and have another look at it,” she told The Independent – saying the £12.50 charge set to be imposed on outer London drivers from August was essentially a “regressive tax”.

Ms McDonagh said: “It’s a laudable aim to improve air quality, but the question is whether this is the right way to do it.”

Adam Forrest21 July 2023 13:46

Politics professor says ULEZ played ‘significant role’ in Tories winning Uxbridge

The Ultra Low Emission Zone (Ulez) debate was likely a significant factor in the the Conservatives' Uxbridge and South Ruislip by-election win, a political researcher said.

Professor Tony Travers of the London School of Economic's Department of Government said the result, which saw Steve Tuckwell win by 495 votes, may not be indicative of national voting trends because of the strong presence of what is a local issue.

The constituency's new MP said in his victory speech it was London Mayor Sadiq Khan's "damaging and costly Ulez policy" that cost Labour the election.

Elsewhere, the Conservatives failed to retain Selby and Ainsty and Somerton and Frome, losing to Labour and the Liberal Democrats respectively.

Prof Travers said of Boris Johnson's old constituency: "It looks as if some number of around 10 percentage points of the vote didn't swing because of Ulez.

"The Selby and Ainsty and Somerton and Frome results tell us more about the future of British politics because Ulez is only an issue in outer London."

Independent candidates in Uxbridge and South Ruislip staged an anti-Ulez protest following Conservative Steve Tuckwell’s victory (Jordan Pettitt/PA)
Independent candidates in Uxbridge and South Ruislip staged an anti-Ulez protest following Conservative Steve Tuckwell’s victory (Jordan Pettitt/PA) (PA Wire)
PA21 July 2023 13:49

What is ULEZ?

What is Ulez for?

Separate from the congestion charge, which is aimed at reducing traffic, Ulez is designed to cut air pollution in the capital by discouraging the use of high-emission vehicles through imposing a daily fee.

It runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week and aims to improve the health of Londoners by reducing the amount of particulate matter and nitrous oxides they breathe.

All cars, motorcycles, vans, minibuses and other specialist vehicles weighing up to 3.5 tonnes.

Generally, petrol cars registered after 2005 and diesel cars registered after 2015 meet the emissions standards. Cars older than this are charged £12.50 a day.

Whose idea was Ulez?

The scheme was first approved in 2015 when Mr Johnson was London mayor but introduced four years later under Mr Khan’s stewardship.

At first, Ulez only applied to central London but in 2021 grew to border the North and South Circular roads as part of a pandemic bail-out agreement between Transport for London (TfL) and the Government.

Mr Khan said he wants to expand the zone further to encompass the outer London boroughs from August 29 to lower the air pollution in those areas.

Opponents of the expansion believe the Mayor is using it as a way to make money for TfL and that it disproportionately affects poorer people who need to drive for work.

Could Ulez be ditched?

The Conservative-run outer London boroughs of Bexley, Bromley, Harrow and Hillingdon along with Surrey County Council have taken legal action against the Mayor of London in the High Court, saying he lacks the legal power to order the scheme’s extension.

They are expecting a judgment on that case before the end of July which could delay the extension, making it a prominent campaign issue in next year’s mayoral and general elections and Labour may choose to reconsider backing it.

PA21 July 2023 14:07

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