LIVE: Boris Johnson says ‘I’m not going to pretend these are brilliant results’

BREAKING: Breaking News: Tories crash to by-election defeats in setback for Boris Johnson

Breaking News: Tories crash to by-election defeats in setback for Boris Johnson

UPDATE 17.28 pm (JUNE 24): Boris Johnson giving a press conference said that he: “Was not going to pretend these are brilliant results” but suggested the Tory woes at the polls were largely down to the cost of living crisis.

Responding to a question that queried asked what his “biggest asset” was now he has “started losing” he replied that he had “no doubt” the government had achieved “remarkable things” and that it would continue to do so.

Responding to the lack of public support from MPs today, Johnson said MPs were getting on with the work they were elected to do. They are he said: “Getting on with the cost of living pressures people face.”

Johnson, who said he has no plans of stepping down despite the “minor setback,” said he “looked forward” to working with Baroness Scotland after she was re-elected as the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth.

UPDATE 13.12 pm (JUNE 24): Speaking to Sky News, the former Deputy Prime Minister and the man behind the ousting of Margaret Thatcher in 1990 said that Johnson’s biggest problem was Brexit.

Hesetline said: “Brexit is a disaster.

“It’s not the only thing that’s influencing opinion. There’s no doubt prices are having a very significant effect. But of course, Brexit is interwoven with those prices. You devalue your currency by 10% and you send a million workers back to Europe home, you’re going to have big consequences on prices and shortages and queues and all that sort of thing.”

He added:”He is the man who got Brexit done, actually got the British people as a consequence of Brexit, and there is no way that Boris is going to actually change his stance on Brexit.

“And so we’re just heading for more and more trouble, more and more conflict, more and more difficulties in Ireland, in Scotland and in Britain’s standing in the world.

“So there’s no doubt at all that Boris is associated with that major issue.

“But I’m afraid even more toxic is, and associated with it, is the lies, the lies that persuaded people to vote for Brexit, the lies about partygate.

“All these things are now associated with the name of the prime minister. So I don’t think either of his own volition or in any other way is he going to change.”

UPDATE 10.03 am (JUNE 24) – Sir Roger Gale, a frequent and outspoken critic of Boris Johnson, has spoken to  Sky’s Kay Burley.

He said that Oliver Dowden’s resignation was a blow saying: “Oliver is a decent and an honourable man.

“And he’s obviously decided that he can’t go on trying to defend the indefensible.

“I understand that what the rest of the cabinet will do is a matter for the rest of the cabinet to decide. They’re grown-ups.

“They’ve got to make their own decisions. But if more of them go then even Mr Johnson may find his position untenable.”

The comments follow the statements by a number of Conservative MPs who unsurprisingly are concerned about their chances of retaining their seats given the scale of the party’s by-election defeats.

Tory grandee Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown said there was “no doubt” it would be “difficult to hold” his seat if there were a by-election in his constituency now.

“I think, factually, if I were to run under a bus today it would be difficult to hold my seat,” the MP for the Cotswolds and treasurer of the 1922 committee said.

“I feel very sorry for all our volunteers, and indeed my colleagues, and indeed myself, who work very hard in these by-elections, but were simply defeated by the situation that we find ourselves in at the moment.”

Sir Keir Starmer calls for Boris Johnson to resign after Tories suffer by-election defeats.

UPDATE 10.03 am (JUNE 24) – Sir Keir Starmer has spoken to voters and the media in Wakefield after Boris Johnson’s party suffered defeats in the first local by-elections on Friday, June 24.

He said that the result was a vindication of Labour’s hard work. He went on to say that it was also a judgement on Boris Johnson’s leadership and the Tory party.

ORIGINAL 7.18 am (June 24)UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been defeated in the first local by-elections since surviving a no-confidence vote, in what many see as a true indication of voter sentiment.

The results announced early on June 24, show that the Liberal Democrats overturned the largest Conservative party majority ever held in the Devon seat of Tiverton and Honiton, whilst in West Yorkshire Labour triumphed.

In Tiverton and Honiton the Liberal Democrats have won overturning a Conservative majority of more than 24,000 with Richard Foord winning with more than 22,000 votes in a swing of almost 30 per cent of votes.

The former Army major said it sent a “loud and clear message”.

He added: “This was an extraordinary and historic result which has sent a shockwave through British politics.

“Tonight the people of Britain have spoken.

“They’ve sent a loud and clear message: it’s time for Boris Johnson to go.”

In the Wakefield by-election, Simon Lightwood beat the Tory candidate by 4,925 votes to regain the West Yorkshire seat it lost to the Conservatives at the 2019 General Election. That overturns the Conservative Party majority at the last election of 3,358 votes.

The by-election came after the resignation of ex-Conservative MP Imran Ahmad Khan, who was jailed in May for sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy in 2008. The result represented a 12.7 per cent swing towards Labour.

Mr Lightwood said the result “turned the page on Tory neglect.

“The people of Wakefield have spoken on behalf of the British people.

“They have said, unreservedly: ‘Boris Johnson, your contempt for this country is no longer tolerated.'”

The result sees the number of Labour MPs in parliament rise to 200 and Boris Johnson’s majority cut to 68.

Johnson, who is attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government conference in Rwanda, said ahead of the by-elections that he would be “watching the results with interest” while adding that “by-elections in mid-term are never necessarily easy for any government”.

He suggested it would be “crazy” for him to quit if she lost the two seats.

The by-elections, both in leave-voting constituencies, took place on the sixth anniversary of the Brexit referendum after they were triggered by the resignation of Conservative MPs both involved in sex scandals.

Neil Parish Conservative MPs: in Tiverton and Honiton, quit after he admitted to watching pornography on his mobile phone in the Commons chamber; and in Wakefield, Imran Ahmad Khan stepped down after being found guilty of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy.

The by-election results have seen party Chair Oliver Dowden resign saying the outcome of the by-elections are “the latest in a run of very poor results for our party.

“Our supporters are distressed and disappointed by recent events, and I share their feelings.

“We cannot carry on with business as usual. Somebody must take responsibility and I have concluded that, in these circumstances, it would not be right for me to remain in office.”

Although Johnson has said that losing the two by-elections is not a reason to resign with mid-term elections always difficult for the ruling party, it is likely that the by-election defeats are a setback for Boris Johnson who may face renewed pressure from within his own party.

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Peter McLaren-Kennedy

Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at