British Prime Minister Boris Johnson suffers embarrassing by-election defeat

19 Juin, 2021, 03:33 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Liberal Democrat candidate Sarah Green won by 8000 votes in Chesham and Amersham By Election in a big blow to the Tories and Labour

In a surprising result, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Conservative Party has been easily defeated in a special election for a seat that it has held for decades.

The centrist Liberal Democrat candidate, Sarah Green, won more than 56 per cent in a constituency that had been held by the Tories since it was set up in its current form in 1974.

The election in the Chesham and Amersham constituency was called after the death in April of Cheryl Gillan, who had represented it for Johnson's Conservatives since 1992.

Since a divisive referendum in 2016, Brexit has helped reshape Britain's political landscape, with people switching party loyalties in a way not seen for generations. Support for the Conservatives has surged in northern England.

The Liberal Democrats, which was in a coalition government with the Conservatives between 2010 and 2015 before seeing its electoral fortunes wane dramatically, won Thursday's election in Chesham and Amersham, 35 miles (57 kilometers) northwest of London.

Labour's Natasa Pantelic came fourth, behind the Greens, and lost her deposit.

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Johnson said it was a "disappointing result", suggesting there were "particular circumstances" in the area and "it was a bit bizarre" to suggest his party were on the back foot. "We would have hoped for a better results".

"There are many Conservatives across the country who are now anxious", said Davey, who celebrated by smashing a blue wall of plastic bricks with an orange mallet. "Here and in great swathes of the country, only the Liberal Democrats can beat the Conservatives and breach their Blue Wall".

It was as shattering a defeat for the Conservatives as the one they inflicted on Labour in Hartlepool last month.

While governing parties often lose out at so-called by-elections, the Lib Dems focused their campaign on local issues, such as the new High Speed 2 rail link between London and northern England which cuts through the area.

In a tweet Ms Green seemed to suggest Conservative voters in the Chesham and Amersham constituency had felt taken for granted by the party headquarters in the same way as Labour voters had in Hartlepool.

"I think there's some misunderstanding about the planning reforms, perhaps even some wilful misunderstanding", he said.

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