British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party suffered a massive and shocking defeat on Thursday in a parliamentary election seen as a referendum on his government after weeks of controversy and a worsening pandemic crisis in the country.
Liberal Democrat candidate Helen Morgan, representing England’s third-largest party, won 17,957 votes, 5,925 more than the Conservatives, and won a single-member election in North Shropshire, a rural area in northwest England that has always been associated with the Conservative Party.
Thursday’s election was called after former Conservative MP Owen Patterson resigned following a scandal trying to influence the executive branch.
“Tonight, the people of North Shropshire spoke on behalf of the British people,” Morgan claimed in his victory speech early in the morning after the results were announced.
“They said loud and clear: Boris Johnson, the party is over. The government, fueled by lies and courage, will take responsibility. It will be checked, it will be confronted, it can be defeated and it will be defeated,” he continued.
The win with 47% of the vote represented an impressive turnaround for Morgan, who in 2019 received just 10% of the vote against 62.7% for Paterson. The Labor Party came in third with 9.7% of the vote.
While an outright Tory majority in Parliament is not in question, the loss of a constituency that has always belonged to the “Conservatives” is adding to the pressure on Johnson just two years after his re-election.
Johnson’s authority has been shaken in recent weeks by allegations that he and his team attended Christmas parties last year while the country was under confinement due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but also to try to protect the city of Paterson from retribution. Suspicion that he incorrectly accepted donations to fund the redesign of his official residence.
Opinion polls show a decline in the popularity of Boris Johnson and the Conservative Party, in favor of Keir Starm’s Labor Party, which is topping the list for the first time in years.
Supporters and opponents alike have questioned how Johnson will manage the pandemic after the number of infections hit record levels this week due to the advance of the highly transmissible Omicron variant, which is rapidly spreading across the UK. p>
On Tuesday, 100 of the 361 Conservative Party MPs voted against the government in Parliament, opposing the introduction of Health Passes in England and other restrictions.
“Votes in North Shropshire are sick and kicking and I think they want to send a message to us. And I mean, as Conservative leader, we heard it clearly,” Conservative Oliver Dowden said in comments this morning. British Sky News.
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