By-election latest: Tiverton defeat ‘very clear message of no confidence’ in Boris Johnson says Tory MP Roger Gale 

Voters in the Tiverton and Honiton by-election have sent a “very clear message of no confidence” in Boris Johnson, a senior Tory MP has claimed, after the Conservative Party lost the seat to the Liberal Democrats and was also defeated by Labour in Wakefield. 

Sir Roger Gale, who has repeatedly called for Mr Johnson to resign, said the crushing defeats leave the Tories in a “not very happy position”. 

He said: “The fact of the matter is the people of the West Country have sent a very clear message of no confidence in the Prime Minister and we have to recognise that.”

Mr Johnson won a vote of confidence on his leadership at the start of this month but Sir Roger said the by-election results should prompt Mr Johnson to “reconsider his position”. He added: “I fear he won’t do it, but he should.”

The comments came after Oliver Dowden resigned as chairman of the Conservative Party as he said in a resignation letter to the PM that “we cannot carry on with business as usual”. 

The Tories lost Tiverton and Honiton to the Liberal Democrats as Sir Ed Davey’s party overturned one of the biggest Conservative majorities in the country. Labour took control of Wakefield as Mr Johnson surrendered a “Red Wall” constituency he won in 2019. 

Mr Johnson’s leadership has been rocked while he is out of the country, with the Prime Minister currently in Rwanda as he attends the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. The resignation of Mr Dowden will inevitably spark speculation on whether other senior Tory figures could quit. 

​​Follow the latest updates below.

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