UK: Johnson under pressure as party chair resigns after Tories lose two by-elections

By Hamed Chapman


London, (The Muslim News): Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, was under renewed pressure to resign Friday after his party’s Chair, Oliver Dowden, said someone must take responsibility for losing two byelections on the same night.


“Our supporters are distressed and disappointed by recent events, and I share their feelings,” Dowden said as Labour retook Wakefield in a very low 39 per cent turnout vote and the Liberal Democrats overturned a 24,000-plus majority to snatch Tiverton and Honiton.


“We cannot carry on with business as usual. Somebody must take responsibility and I have concluded that, in these circumstances, it would not be right for me to remain in office,” Dowden added.


The defeats come less than three weeks after Johnson suffered a huge blow to his authority after being able to secure the backing of only 211 Tory MPs, while no less than 148 expressed no confidence in the Prime Minister.


Lib Dem Leader, Ed Davey, said Friday that the Tiverton and Honiton result meant it was time for Tory MPs to “finally do the right thing” and oust the Prime Minister.


“This should be a wake-up call for all those Conservative MPs propping up Boris Johnson. They cannot afford to ignore this result,” he said.


Labour Leader, Keir Starmer, said the Wakefield win showed the country “has lost confidence in the Tories” and that the result was a “clear judgment on a Conservative Party that has run out of energy and ideas.”


Under party rules Johnson, who was visiting Rwanda during the by-elections, cannot face another no confidence from his MPs for another year but there have been suggestions that the regulations could be changed if he does not arrange to step down from power.


The timing could not be worse for the Prime Minister who is not due back to the UK until next Friday July 1 after the Commonwealth Summit, which is followed by his expected attendance at a G7 meeting in Germany and a Nato summit in Spain.


[Photo: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street for his weekly Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) appearance in the House of Commons in London, United Kingdom on June 22, 2022. Photojournalist: Wiktor Szymanowicz/AA]


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