'Boris Johnson, The Party is Over': UK Conservatives Lose North Shropshire By-Election to Lib Dems

© REUTERS / ED SYKESLiberal Democrat candidate Helen Morgan speaks after winning the North Shropshire parliamentary seat, in Shrewsbury, Britain December 17, 2021
Liberal Democrat candidate Helen Morgan speaks after winning the North Shropshire parliamentary seat, in Shrewsbury, Britain December 17, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 17.12.2021
The North Shropshire by-election was triggered by the resignation of ex-Tory MP Owen Paterson, who was caught lobbying illegally for two firms as a paid consultant. Paterson had held the North Shropshire seat since 1997.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Conservative Party has lost the North Shropshire by-election to the Liberal Democrats. North Shropshire had been held by the Conservative Party in every electoral contest since 1906.
Liberal Democrats party candidate Helen Morgan won the North Shropshire seat by a majority of nearly 6,000 votes, with 17,957 votes.
"Tonight, the people of North Shropshire have spoken on behalf of the British people. They have said loudly and clearly: 'Boris Johnson, the party is over'," Morgan said in her victory speech.
Morgan also thanked the people of North Shropshire "not just for putting your faith in me to be your champion in Parliament" but for the "hard work and sacrifices you have made over the past two years to get our communities through this awful pandemic".
The Lib Dems' leader, Ed Davey, has praised Morgan's victory in the by-election as a "historic moment".
"This is a historic moment for the Liberal Democrats. I think the Liberal Democrats are on a roll now," he told Sky News.
Back in 2019, the Conservatives had held a 22,949 majority: today Tory candidate Neil Shastri-Hurst led with 12,032 votes and Labour's Ben Wood came in third with 3,686.
The 16 December by-election was triggered by the resignation of Conservative MP Owen Paterson, who had held the North Shropshire seat since 1997.
In November, the House of Commons Parliamentary Committee on Standards approved a report on the investigation of Tory parliamentarian, former Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (2010-2012) and Minister of the Environment (2012-2014) Owen Paterson. The investigation revealed that he had violated the rules of conduct set for legislators, by repeatedly lobbying the interests of two private companies where he worked as a consultant.
The scandal plunged Boris Johnson into a massive scandal after he ordered Tory MPs to to support a controversial amendment tearing up House of Commons anti-sleaze rules to shield Paterson from lobbying claims. However, after facing much backlash within his own party and allegations of Tory sleaze, the prime minister made a U-turn and ditched immediate plans to overhaul the standards system.
The standards commissioner and committee recommended Paterson’s suspension from parliament for 30 days for an “egregious” breach of lobbying rules. Shortly thereafter, the MP stepped down, saying that he "will remain a public servant but outside the cruel world of politics”.
The by-election also came days after Boris Johnson suffered the largest rebellion of his prime ministership when 100 Tory MPs voted against the government's proposals to toughen coronavirus restrictions in England.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during the weekly question time debate at Parliament in London, Britain, December 15, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 15.12.2021
Boris Johnson Vows to 'Get on With Job' Amid Tory Rebellion Over COVID Rules
The revolt followed a series of scandals involving "lockdown-breaching" Christmas parties last December, the financing ofJohnson's renovation of the Number 10 flat, the PeppaGate, and the fallout over Owen Paterson's departure.
The multiple rows also sent the Conservative party's ratings plummeting: the Labour Party has recorded its largest lead over the ruling Tories since the 2019 general election.
A survey conducted by the global market research and political polling company Redfield & Wilton Strategies showed that 38 percent of the respondents said they would vote Labour if there was an election, compared to 34 percent who would vote Conservative.
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