Huge blow to Boris Johnson as he LOSES North Shropshire seat safe from Lib Dems by a landslide following Owen Paterson saga

BORIS Johnson suffered a humiliating defeat in the North Shropshire by-election as the Lib Dems overthrew a 20,000 majority to win a landslide match.

In a blow to his wobbly position as prime minister, the Prime Minister lost his extremely secure seat due to the dazed abdication of Owen Paterson.

Lib Dem Helen Morgan beat North Shropshire


Lib Dem Helen Morgan beat North ShropshireCredit: PA

Seizing the ultra-secure constituency from the Conservatives, Lib Dem Helen Morgan won by a stunning 5,925 votes in a vote triggered by Owen Paterson’s resignation.

The former minister had a nearly 23,000 majority in the 2019 general election when the Prime Minister achieved a try, but support has dwindled as the Tories battled the charges on multiple fronts.

The vote was not only sparked by the appalling scandal centered on Mr Paterson, but it also came after the Prime Minister was seen as battered by claims of parties breaching the Downing Street lockdown.

And the setback will last a harsh week that includes the massive uprising Conservative supporters thrashed Mr Johnson on Tuesday over his new coronavirus restrictions as the Omicron variant surged.

Ms. Morgan won 17,957 votes, edging Tory’s Neil Shastri-Hurst in second place with 12,032 votes.

“Tonight, the people of North Shropshire spoke on behalf of the British people. They said loudly and clearly, ‘Boris Johnson, the party is over’,” Ms Morgan said in her victory speech.

“Your government, running on lies and infamy, will be held accountable. It will be scrutinized, it will be tested and it can and will be defeated.”

North Shropshire has returned one Tory MP in every vote since 1983, the constituency’s first election of its current form.

But the pro-Brexit sector is truly blue, having voted for a different color only twice, since the Conservative Party’s founding in 1830.

Mr Paterson represented the constituency for 24 years until he resigned following a failed attempt by the Prime Minister to protect him from a 30-day suspension.

Mr Johnson tried to force Tory to review the rules for MPs after Mr Paterson was found to have breached lobbying rules for two companies paying him 100,000 yen a year.

Fresh accusations of sleaze were leveled in the Tories during the controversy and the MP was eventually forced to resign, saying he wanted to escape the “ruthless world of politics”.

In 2019, the Tories won 62.7% of the vote and held the seat with a 22,949 majority over Labor.

Ms. Morgan came in third with just 10% of the vote when she faced Mr. Paterson in the general election.

Thursday’s defeat followed a tumultuous period for Mr Johnson after 100 Conservatives defied the leadership to vote against issuing mandatory Covid health cards to enter major venues – biggest rebellion since he entered number 10.

Asked on Wednesday whether Mr Johnson would quit if North Shropshire fell, the Prime Minister’s press secretary said: “We are fighting for every vote.”

The shift to the Lib Dems is even bigger than the first time the party has seized an old Tory stronghold since the general election.

Chesham and Amersham have been Conservative strongholds since the constituency was established in 1974, but the Lib Dems took it over by 25% of the Tories in July.

Ms Morgan, a 46-year-old accountant who lives in the Shropshire village of Harmer Hill, will become the latest MP after defeating Mr Shastri-Hurst, a lawyer based in Birmingham.

Voter turnout in North Shropshire was 46.3%, or 38,110 voters. Huge blow to Boris Johnson as he LOSES North Shropshire seat safe from Lib Dems by a landslide following Owen Paterson saga

Huynh Nguyen

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