Tory chairman Oliver Dowden quits after two bruising by-election defeats


The contests in Wakefield and Tiverton and Honiton were triggered by the resignation of disgraced Tories. The by-elections offered voters the chance to give their verdict on the Prime Minister just weeks after 41% of his own MPs cast their ballots against him.

Conservative Party Chairman Oliver Dowden has quit after the party suffered two bruising by-election defeats this morning.

In Tiverton and Honiton the Liberal Democrats overturned a 24,000 Tory majority to win, while Labour reclaimed Wakefield.

The contests, triggered by the resignation of disgraced Tories, offered voters the chance to give their verdict on the Prime Minister just weeks after 41% of his own MPs cast their ballots against him.

In his resignation letter to the Prime Minister, Mr Dowden said: “Yesterday’s Parliamentary by-elections are the latest in a run of very poor result for our party,” Mr Dowden wrote in a letter to the Prime Minister.

“Our supporters are distressed and disappointed by recent events, and I share their feelings.

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Image:

Wiktor Szymanowicz/REX/Shutterstock)

“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.”

Mr Dowden’s remarks take a strikingly different tone to words he used ahead of the Prime Minister’s vote of no confidence.

Ahead of the vote, he tweeted: “I will be voting for Boris Johnson in the confidence vote tonight.

“He’s demonstrated real leadership in getting the big calls right as PM – Brexit, vaccines, reopening and Ukraine.

“I hope after this vote we can come together and focus on the future. Let’s face the big challenges united and focused on delivery.”

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