Rishi Sunak claimed that the next general election is not a done deal, as his party narrowly won yesterday’s Uxbridge and South Ruislip by-election.
Uxbridge and South Ruislip was represented by Boris Johnson with a majority of 7210 until his resignation last month following the publication of the Privileges Committee report on Partygate.
Tuckwell’s slim majority saved Sunak from being the first prime minister since 1968 to have a triple by-election defeat on the same day.
Sunak said: “Westminster’s been acting like the next election is a done deal. The Labour Party has been acting like it’s a done deal. The people of Uxbridge just told all of them that it’s not.”
Tuckwell focused his campaign heavily on opposition to the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) expansion, which will cost some an additional £12.50 per day from August.
Tuckwell said in his victory speech: “Sadiq Khan has lost Labour this election. It was damaging and costly ULEZ policy that lost them this election.”
Angela Rayner, Labour’s deputy leader, conceded in an interview with BBC Breakfast: “The decision in Uxbridge was related to ULEZ. The Uxbridge result shows that when you don’t listen to the voters, you don’t win elections.”
But the Tories did not come out unscathed, as it still suffered a double by-election blow.
In Selby and Ainsty, Labour’s 25-year-old Keir Mather overturned a Tory majority of 20,137, the largest swing away from the Tories in a by-election since the Dudley West vote in 1994.
Sir Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, hailed it as a historic win.
He said: “It is clear just how powerful the demand for change is. After 13 years of Tory chaos, only Labour can give the country its hope, its optimism, and its future back.”
In Somerset and Frome, the Liberal Democrats overturned a 19,213 Tory majority, a 29% swing away from the Tories.
Ed Davey, the leader of the Lib Dems, said: “This is a stunning victory and shows the Lib Dems are back in the West Country.”
It is the party’s fourth by-election gain since 2019.
The results of all three by-elections highlight that the Conservatives have a long way to go to win back voters, but the Party remains confident that they will win back the seats.
Greg Hands, Conservative Party Chairman, said they had defied the odds by winning Uxbridge.
He said: “The important thing for the Government is to stick to the plan, stick to the priorities, carry on delivering against those priorities.”
Featured image credit: Harry Mear