British Prime Minister Boris Johnson suffered an embarrassing defeat when his Conservative Party lost a parliamentary by-election on the outskirts of London, just a few miles from his own seat.
Since its creation in 1974, the Conservatives had comfortably held the leafy, affluent Chesham and Amersham constituency, capturing more than 50 per cent of the vote on every occasion.
However, in an astonishing turnaround, the candidate for the Liberal Democrats — a centrist, pro-European Union party — won a majority of 8,028 votes over the Conservative candidate in results announced on Friday morning.
Asked about the huge swing, junior interior minister Kit Malthouse said: “It’s tough and disappointing”.
“We would have hoped for a better result,” he told Sky News.
The Conservative Party last month won a stronghold of Britain’s opposition Labour Party in Hartlepool in northeast England, which Johnson credited in part to delivering Brexit.
But some have said the approach that is attracting traditional Labour voters in northern England has also alienated some of Johnson’s base in the Conservatives’ own strongholds.
Johnson’s parliamentary seat is just ten miles away, in West London. “(Voters) have been taken for granted, they feel that the Conservative Party isn’t listening to them.
Many of them are very unhappy with Boris Johnson,” Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey said, referring to Labour and Conservative party colours.—Reuters