The Tory vote squeeze

When the cabinet gathered on Tuesday morning, the meeting started as a sombre affair. Just days before, the Conservatives had suffered – in the words of polling expert Sir John Curtice – ‘one of worst nights any government has endured’. The Tories lost both the Tamworth and Mid Bedfordshire by-elections to Labour. The Environment Secretary, Thérèse Coffey, managed to lighten the mood when she intervened to say that it hadn’t gone unnoticed that it was Rishi Sunak’s 365th day as Prime Minister. Loud banging on the table ensued, led by Jeremy Hunt. A year into Sunak’s premiership, neither he nor his supporters are where they would have liked to be.

Tory rebels plot a 1922 takeover

The Conservative party has a rather funereal air about it this morning, following this week’s two bruising by-election losses in Wakefield and Tiverton and Honiton, which saw the party get walloped in both the ‘red wall’ north and true blue south. And since the losses it appears that Tory animosity towards the PM has been building up. Two former Tory party leaders, William Hague and Michael Howard, have now said that cabinet ministers should pressure Boris Johnson to leave No. 10, with Howard telling the World at One that: ‘The party and more importantly the country would be better off under new leadership. Members of the cabinet should very carefully consider their

Why Oliver Dowden’s resignation matters

Boris Johnson has been clear that he will not resign in the face of by-election losses. But his party chairman just has done, saying someone needs to take responsibility for losses in both and Tiverton & Honiton. Tory chairman Oliver Dowden announced he is quitting as ‘we cannot carry on with business as usual’. In his resignation letter, he says ‘our supporters are distressed and disappointed by recent events and I share their feelings’. Dowden does not offer an endorsement of the Prime Minister – instead saying he remains loyal to the Conservative party. No Tory MPs really believe a lack of organisation is the key factor in these two