Labour won two Conservative safe seats in a double by-election victory overnight.
Voters in Mid Bedfordshire and Tamworth swung significantly to Labour, in what is a woeful result for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and his Tory party.
Mid Bedfordshire, the former seat of Boris Johnson ally Nadine Dorries, saw a 20.5 percent swing, transforming the 24,664 Tory majority into a 1,192 Labour one. The new MP is Alistair Strathern, 33.
In Tamworth, the seat of disgraced former Conservative MP Chris Pincher, also saw a huge swing of 23.9 percent, with a 19,634 Tory majority turned into a 1,316 one for Labour, electing Sarah Edwards, 35, as the new MP.
Speaking specifically about the Tamworth result to the BBC, British election wizard John Curtice said “no government has hitherto lost to the principal opposition party in a by-election a seat as safe as Tamworth.”
Speaking on both the results, Curtice told the BBC that we are seeing the “top 10 of worst Conservative performances against the Labour Party.”
With a general election predicted at some point late next year, Curtice warned against taking these results as a direct temperature check. “This isn’t destiny, but it is a pointer … Unless the Conservatives can fairly dramatically and radically turn things around, then they are in truth staring defeat in the face in 12 months’ time,” he said.
Former Theresa May pollster James Johnson, of JL Partners, told POLITICO’s London Playbook it is “close to the worst case” for the Conservatives.
Peter Kyle, the shadow science secretary who was behind the campaign in Mid Bedfordshire, told the Guardian that a “political earthquake” has unfolded, saying the Mid Bedfordshire result is “the biggest by-election shock in history.”