Tory Minister Told By-Election 'Kickings' Show Voters Think Rishi Sunak Is 'Failing'

Michael Tomlinson defends Conservative defeats amid "very difficult backdrop" for the party.

Illegal immigration minister Michael Tomlinson has defended Rishi Sunak after being told by-election losses show voters “don’t want what he’s offering”.

Last week Labour overturned two huge Conservative majorities in Kingswood and Wellingborough.

In an interview with the BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg, Tomlinson said the elections had taken place against a “very difficult backdrop”.

“Governments don’t traditionally win by-elections,” he said. “It’s very clear that a vote for reform is a vote to let Labour in. That is a very clear message I have taken away.”

But Kuenssberg told him “the clear message” was actually “that voters don’t like” the prime minister.

“This is a long line of kickings since Rishi Sunak has been in. Voters don’t want what he’s offering,” she said. “They are judging him and they are judging that he’s failing.”

In Kingswood, Labour overturned a Tory majority of 11,220. While in Wellingborough Labour won with a massive 28.5% swing from Tories - the second biggest since the Second World War.

Sunak is facing at pincer movement at the general election of Labour and the Lib Dems on the left and the Reform party on the right.

Reform, which is the successor to Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party, won 10% of the vote in Kingswood and 13% in Wellingborough.

Following the by-elections, Sunak has tried to hammer home the message that voting for Reform will help Labour win the general election.

The Conservatives have lost 11 seats in by-elections this parliament, the most by any government since the 1960s.


What's Hot