British Prime Minister Boris Johnson takes blame for stunning Tory election defeat, Helen Morgan victory


Dec. 17 (UPI) — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Conservative Party suffered a major and surprising defeat on Thursday night — when a longtime Tory-held parliamentary seat abruptly flipped to Liberal Democrat control.

Liberal Democrat Helen Morgan won the seat in North Shropshire in a by-election that was created by a resignation earlier this year.


The surprise victory was a stunner, as North Shropshire has long had a strong Conservative majority and the Tory party has held the seat almost continuously since the 1800s.

Experts say Conservatives have a majority in the region of about 23,000 voters. Morgan won the by-election by about 6,000 votes.

The election represented a 34% voting swing from 2019, when the Conservatives last won the seat.

Experts and observers aren’t quite sure how the Liberal Democrats pulled off the upset, but some said fatigue over COVID-19 restrictions may have played a factor.

“Voters were fed up and they gave us a kicking,” Conservative Party co-chair Oliver Dowden said Friday, according to The Guardian. “I take it that they are saying to us that we need to focus on the core job at hand.”


Liberal Democrats leader Ed Davey said Thursday’s victory was Britain’s clearest signal yet that people are not happy with two years of leadership from Johnson and his Conservatives.

“This result is a watershed moment in our politics and offers hope to people around the country that a brighter future is possible,” Davey said, according to The Guardian. “Millions of people are fed up with Boris Johnson and his failure to provide leadership throughout the pandemic, and last night the voters of North Shropshire spoke for all of them.”

Friday, Johnson publicly took responsibility for the embarrassing defeat.

“Clearly the vote in North Shropshire is a very disappointing result,” he said, according to The Guardian. “I totally understand people’s frustrations. I hear what the voters are saying in North Shropshire.

“In all humility I have got to accept that verdict.”