‘Throwing everything at it!’ Boris Johnson allies gear up for crunch Tiverton by-election

Danny Kruger calls for unity after Boris no confidence vote

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Allies of the Prime Minister are eager to avoid a defeat at the ballot box so soon after the Conservative Party split over partygate, with Boris Johnson winning a bruising vote on no-confidence earlier this month. Speaking to Express.co.uk shorting after the confidence vote, Danny Kruger MP said the Conservatives faced a difficult challenge in Tiverton but he remained hopeful that the party will do enough to keep the seat blue. 

Mr Kruger told Express.co.uk: “I think we should be realistic about what’s going to happen Tiverton, it’s unlikely we’re going to see anything like the support we had at the last election when Brexit was the dominant question.

“And we have a new candidate, the outgoing candidate Neil parish is very popular locally.

“I think we’ve had to struggle to get our voters out but that is our mission, and as you say, Boris is very good in campaign mode, with throwing everything at it.

“We’re all working very hard.”

“I think we can be quite hopeful that we’ll hold on to it, and if we don’t, well,  I’m afraid to say this is the natural cycle of politics, midterm governments struggling by-elections because people use it as an opportunity to register their protest because they know they’re not actually changing the government,” he added.

“So I don’t think it’ll be a game-changer if we lose there but I don’t think we necessarily are going to lose so we should be continuing to try hard to win it.

“But I think we are in a difficult patch politically, with a country given everything that’s going on, given the very understandable anger about what was going on in Number 10 and Whitehall during the pandemic all those pretty unacceptable events that are happening.

“Given the cost of living crisis that people are really really suffering under and given the long residue of the effect of Covid. We have been through a very, very tough patch, and things are not going to be easy in the coming months for the country and therefore for the Government, and that’s just something we have to face.”

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If the Conservatives were to lose both of the by-elections taking place this Thursday – in Wakefield and in Tiverton & Honiton – it would be only the seventh time a government has suffered such a double defeat since the Second World War.

Wakefield in West Yorkshire was won by the Tories from Labour at the 2019 general election, but Labour is now hoping to take it back.

To overturn the Conservative majority of 3,358, Labour needs a swing in the share of the vote of 3.8 percentage points – in other words, four in every 100 people who voted Tory in 2019 would need to switch to Labour.

A far bigger swing is required for the Tories to lose the seat of Tiverton & Honiton in Devon.

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The Liberal Democrats are the main challenger in this constituency, but it would take a swing of 22.8 points for them to win, or the equivalent of 23 in every 100 people who voted Conservative in 2019 switching directly to the Lib Dems.

This is a smaller change than the one achieved by the Lib Dems in the North Shropshire by-election in December last year, when they took the seat from the Conservatives on a 34.1 point swing.

It would also be smaller than the 25.2 point swing in the Chesham & Amersham by-election in June 2021, which again saw the Liberal Democrats take the seat from the Tories.

If the Lib Dems manage a swing in Tiverton & Honiton of more than 25.4 points, it would rank as one of the 10 largest swings against a government since 1945 in a by-election which saw a change in both party and MP.

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