Conservative Party chairman Greg Hands has said he will not quit in the wake of two heavy by-election defeats.
The results are a big boost for Keir Starmer and will be interpreted as more evidence he is on course to win next year’s general election.
Speaking to Sky News early on Friday morning, Hands said the defeats were in part a result of “legacy issues” with the Conservatives.
Asked if he would take responsibility for the double-defeat and resign, Hands. said: “No.
“I am going to be looking at the dynamics and operation of those by-elections. I think we had a very good campaign. We had good candidates.
“The two by-elections were caused by legacy issues that pre-dated Rishi Sunak.
“We just have to find a way to incentivise Conservatives to vote next year for the general election.”
In a separate BBC interview, Hands said “well, yes” when asked if he believed the Tories will win that election. “That is ultimately what I do think,” he said.
In Mid Bedfordshire - Nadine Dorries’ former seat - Alistair Strathern overturned a majority of 24,664 to become the constituency’s first ever Labour MP. It is the biggest majority to be overturned since 1945.
And in Tamworth - previously held by Chris Pincher - the 19,634 Tory majority crumbled to see Sarah Edwards elected on the back of a 24% swing to Labour. The seat was last won by the party in 2005.
Starmer said of the wins: “These are phenomenal results that show Labour is back in the service of working people and redrawing the political map.
“Winning in these Tory strongholds shows that people overwhelmingly want change and they’re ready to put their faith in our changed Labour Party to deliver it.
“Voters across Mid Bedfordshire, Tamworth and Britain want a Labour government determined to deliver for working people, with a proper plan to rebuild our country.”
Election expert Professor Sir John Curtice told the BBC: “Unless the Conservatives can fairly dramatically and fairly radically turn things around, they are in truth staring defeat in the face in 12 months’ time.”