Boris Johnson faces UK election defeats

On Friday, Boris Johnson’s Conservatives lost two seats in parliament, dealing a fresh blow to the British prime minister who had already lost a key friend with the unexpected departure of his party’s chairman and was now facing new calls for his resignation.

Johnson remained adamant, promising to listen to voters’ concerns and do more to address a cost-of-living issue after what he termed as “difficult” results in the two so-called by-elections, while in Rwanda for a gathering of Commonwealth members.

The losses—one in one of the Conservatives’ traditional southern strongholds and another in an industrial seat in northern England that the party wrested from Labour in the previous election—indicate that Johnson’s wide appeal to win the 2019 election may be breaking down.

After months of controversy about COVID-19 lockdown parties and at a time when millions of people are hurting due to rising food and fuel prices, MPs may decide to take action against Johnson once more out of concern that he may have become an electoral liability.

After receiving a punishment for violating the lockdown regulations at his Downing Street office, Johnson has thus far rejected calls for his resignation.

He has been under investigation by a committee over whether he purposefully deceived parliament. This month, he survived a vote of confidence by Conservative legislators, despite the fact that 41% of his parliamentary colleagues wanted to have him removed.

Johnson told Kigali broadcasters, “I think as a government I’ve got to listen to what people are saying.

In a subsequent news conference, he claimed that his government had the proper plan to get through the “difficult moment” of growing inflation, which included restructuring the housing, energy, and transportation sectors to relieve the public’s strain.

Oliver Dowden, the chairman of the Conservative Party, announced his resignation in a carefully written letter after the defeats in the northern English town of Wakefield, the southwest English town of Tiverton, and the southwest English town of Honiton.

He declared, “We cannot do business as normal.” Dowden, a longtime ally of Johnson’s, said, “Someone must accept responsibility and I have decided that, given these circumstances, it would not be proper for me to remain in office.

He was accused by some Conservatives of conducting weak campaigns in both voting districts by disregarding local issues.

In response, Johnson said that while he could sympathize with Dowden’s dissatisfaction, “this administration was elected with a historic mandate little over two years ago,” and he would keep working toward that goal.

According to a source in the Conservative Party, Johnson was unconcerned about more resignations from his cabinet team of top ministers and hit out at the media for “misreporting” lockdown parties.

There may not be much relief from Johnson and his team’s reasons for the Conservative Party’s angst.

Former Conservative leader Michael Howard urged cabinet ministers to “seriously rethink their positions” and that the party “would be better off under fresh leadership.”

Johnson may be forced out of office before to the anticipated 2024 presidential election by a wave of cabinet resignations. It may be called sooner, but according to a report from American bank Citi, the chances are “minimal.”

Johnson cannot face another confidence motion from his party for a year, but members worried about their own prospects may try to push a change to compel a second vote.

It might take some time. It would need alterations to the committee that represents Conservative legislators without government employment.

The resignations of two Conservative lawmakers—one who confessed seeing porn in parliament and the other who was convicted of sexually abusing a young boy—set off the by-elections.

The center-left Liberal Democrats defeated the party in Tiverton and Honiton, where they received more than 24,000 votes.

According to Ed Davey, leader of the Liberal Democrats, “If Conservative MPs don’t wake up, I think the public will send them packing at the next election.”

The main opposition Labour party triumphed in Wakefield, a parliamentary district in northern England.

Labour leader Keir Starmer stated, “This outcome is a strong verdict on a Conservative Party that has run out of enthusiasm and ideas.”

Johnson won in typically Labour-voting regions of north and central England, helping the Conservatives secure their largest majority in thirty years at the 2019 general election.

But Wakefield’s departure could be a sign that he can no longer pull off the ruse.

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