UK PM Rishi Sunak suffers two historic by-election defeats as Labour opposition surges

Labour achieved a historic victory in Mid Bedfordshire, as they managed to secure the seat for the first time, overcoming a substantial 24,664-vote Tory majority.

  • The two constituencies, Mid Bedfordshire in southern England and Tamworth in the West Midlands, were among the safest Conservative parliamentary seats in the country before the polls of Thursday.
  • Labour overcame a 24,664 majority to win Mid Bedfordshire, marking the largest Conservative numerical majority overturned in the U.K. by the main opposition party since 1945.
  • In Tamworth, the 23.9-point swing from Conservative to Labour represented the second-largest percentage overturn of its kind since 1945 and took on what was a 66% Conservative majority in the 2019 general election.

In two recent by-elections on Friday, the Conservative Party, led by British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, suffered significant setbacks as they were defeated by the Labour Party in the seats of Mid Bedfordshire and Tamworth, both located in England. This marked a substantial shift in the political landscape, with Labour overturning a considerable Tory majority.
While Prime Minister Sunak was engaged in crisis talks regarding the Israel-Gaza conflict during his tour of the Middle East, Labour leader Keir Starmer declared that his party was effectively reshaping the political landscape.

Labour achieved a historic victory in Mid Bedfordshire, as they managed to secure the seat for the first time, overcoming a substantial 24,664-vote Tory majority. Additionally, they orchestrated a significant 23.9 per cent swing from the Tories in Tamworth.

Starmer expressed, "These triumphs in traditionally Conservative strongholds demonstrate that the public overwhelmingly desires change and is willing to place their trust in our transformed Labour Party to bring about that change."

By-elections held in advance of a general election year are often regarded as indicative of the electorate's sentiments, and these results will undoubtedly send shockwaves through the Conservative Party. The outcome of these elections, featuring the second-highest-ever by-election swing to Labour, couldn't have come at a more precarious time for the Tories, who were already trailing in nationwide opinion polls. The results serve as a significant boost for Labour as they prepare for the anticipated general election in 2024.

Conservative Party Chairman Greg Hands expressed disappointment with the results but attributed the outcome to a lack of engagement from Tory voters. He acknowledged that some of their supporters were dissatisfied with the government's performance, emphasizing the need for the party to regain their trust.

The extended resignation of former Cabinet minister and staunch Boris Johnson supporter, Nadine Dorries, in Mid Bedfordshire, is believed to have had a considerable impact on the electoral outcome in the eastern England constituency. Meanwhile, in Tamworth, situated in the West Midlands, MP Chris Pincher resigned due to inappropriate behaviour under the influence. Greg Hands acknowledged that local anger among voters, stemming from the circumstances surrounding these by-elections, also played a role in the Tory defeats.