Jacob Rees-Mogg Conjures Up Bizarre Counting Method To Defend Tory By-Election Disaster

"It's not as bad as I'd expected," the backbencher said over the two catastrophic defeats for the Conservatives.
Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg did some mental gymnastics to put to a positive spin on two by-election losses for the Tories.
Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg did some mental gymnastics to put to a positive spin on two by-election losses for the Tories.
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Jacob Rees-Mogg does not think that last night’s back-to-back by-election losses were that bad – even though the Tories lost two seats.

Essentially, the backbencher told BBC Breakfast that he had come to that conclusion by considering votes which did not go towards the Tories as support for the Tories.

“It’s not as bad I’d expected,” he said shortly after the losses in Kingswood and Wellingborough were confirmed – both seats went from the Conservative Party to Labour.

But, according to Rees-Mogg’s calculations, it was... good news for the Tories?

He said: “If you add up the Conservative and the Reform Party vote, it’s more than the Labour Party vote.

“Labour did not get over 50%, and bear in mind, this is a seat Labour held throughout it’s period of government of 1977 to 2010.

“If it’s not winning and winning strongly here in a by-election, then its prospects for a general election aren’t that good.”

Labour’s Damien Egan overturned a Tory majority of 11,220 last night to become the new MP in Kingswood.

That by-election was triggered by the resignation of former energy minister Chris Skidmore – he quit in protest to Sunak’s decision to water down his green pledges.

Over in Wellingborough, where long-serving Tory MP Peter Bone lost the Tory whip after he was found to have bullied and sexually harassed a staff member.

After was suspended from the Commons for six weeks, enough voters in his seat then backed a petition for him to be removed as their MP.

This constituency was the Tories’ worst ever by-election result – they fell by 38 points.

It’s widely believed that Reform UK is splitting traditional Conservative supporters, especially after Reform took 13% of the vote in Wellingborough and 10.4% in Kingswood.

The two results also mean the Conservatives have lost their 9th and 10th by-elections since the last general election in 2019.


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