Rishi Sunak Facing Day After St Valentine's Massacre As Double By-Elections Announced

Voters in Wellingborough and Kingswood are set to go to the polls on February 15.
Voters in two Tory-held seats will go to the polls on February 15.
Voters in two Tory-held seats will go to the polls on February 15.
Yui Mok - PA Images via Getty Images

Rishi Sunak is facing a double by-election nightmare in two previously-safe Tory seats.

Voters in Kingswood and Wellingborough are set to go to the polls on February 15 - the day after St. Valentine’s Day.

The by-elections follow the resignation of Chris Skidmore and Peter Bone’s sacking by his constituents in a recall petition.

Skidmore, a former energy minister, retained his Kingswood seat with a majority of 11,220 in the 2019 general election, but quit as an MP last week in protest at the prime minister watering down his green commitments.

Bone was first elected the Tory MP for Wellingborough in 2005, and retained it in 2019 with a majority of 13,737.

He lost the Conservative whip last October after he was found to have bullied and sexually harasses a member of his staff.

After being suspended from the Commons for six weeks, enough voters in his seat supported a petition calling for his removal as their MP.

With Labour continuing to enjoy a commanding lead in the national opinion polls, bookies William Hill have installed them as strong favourites to win both seats.

Lib Dem chief whip Wendy Chamberlain said: “There will be no love lost for this chaotic, out of touch Conservative government next month.

“Sunak can love bomb the electorate with his meaningless words as much as he likes, but that won’t be enough to stop him getting dumped by voters the day after Valentine’s.”

A double by-election defeat would be yet another hammer blow for the PM, who has failed to turn around the Tories’ fortunes since succeeding Liz Truss in October 2022.

The last time two by-elections were held on the same day was last October, when Labour pulled off two seismic wins in Mid-Bedfordshire and Tamworth.

Sunak has also lost by-elections in Selby and Ainsty and Somerton and Frome, since becoming PM, although the Tories did hold on to Boris Johnson’s former seat in Uxbridge and South Ruislip as voters rebelled against Sadiq Khan’s extension of London’s ultra-low emission zone.


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