Analysis: 'Safe' Tory Seats Tumble As Voters Deliver Damning Verdict On Rishi Sunak

Holding on to Boris Johnson's old seat was a glimmer of light on an otherwise miserable night for the prime minister.
Rishi Sunak was given another slap in the face by voters.
Rishi Sunak was given another slap in the face by voters.
Christopher Furlong via Getty Images

Like a drowning man clinging on to a rubber ring, Rishi Sunak will this morning point to the Tories’ victory in Uxbridge as proof that all is not lost for his party.

But in truth, last night’s three by-elections simply confirmed what we already suspected - that barring a remarkable turnaround, the Conservatives will be booted from power next year.

It was reported last night that Sunak now favours going to the country in November 2024, just two months before he is legally obliged to hold a general election.

That effectively means that “let’s cross our fingers and hope something comes up” is now the prime minister’s electoral strategy.

Looking at last night’s results, you can see why.

After clinging on in Uxbridge - albeit with a mightily reduced majority and thanks to local anger at Sadiq Khan’s ULEZ expansion - things quickly went downhill for the Tories.

Within minutes, the Lib Dems had overturned a 19,000 Tory majority to win in Somerton and Frome.

That was soon followed by the Conservatives’ 20,000 majority in Selby and Ainsty tumbling to Labour - a seat that wasn’t even on Labour’s target list for the next general election.

The mammoth anti-Tory swings in those two seats - and the collapse of the Tory majority in Uxbridge - all indicate that it’s now a question of when, not if, Sunak is ejected from 10 Downing Street.

Squeezed by Labour in the north and the Lib Dems in the south west, the Tories have nowhere else to go.

And while it’s fair to say there is no great love in the country for either Keir Starmer or his party, the simple fact that they are not the Conservatives will probably be enough to get them into government next year.


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