Tories losing next week's by-election will be 'tipping point' for 'seismic' election defeat, Nadine Dorries tells LBC

6 February 2024, 18:42

Nadine Dorries says Wellingborough by-election will 'seismic event' for Tory Party

Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

The Tories losing next week's by-election in Wellingborough would act as a 'tipping point' before the party faces a potentially 'seismic' electoral wipeout, Nadine Dorries has told LBC.

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The Tories are hoping to defend their 18,500-seat majority in the by-election, which was triggered after Peter Bone, the area's former MP, lost the Conservative whip for allegedly sexually assaulting a woman.

According to polling, the Labour party is expected to win the seat, partly due to rising support for the Reform Party, which could split the Conservative vote.

If this happens, Dorries says the by-election loss will act as a "tipping point" ahead of the general election.

Asked if an extinction event for the Tories was possible, the former Tory MP told LBC's Tonight with Andrew Marr: “I think it’s possible…it will be a seismic moment.”

“The tipping point will be next Thursday. We’ve lost by-election after by-election and we expect to lose this one, but if Ben Habib, who is the [Reform] candidate…polls more than 14 per cent, then that’s going to be the tipping point.”

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She also said some Tory MPs could then defect to Reform in a bid to retain their seats.

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“If I was Rishi Sunak, I’d be very worried [of Reform and Richard Tice] because he’s taken his eye of the Reform ball and Richard Tice is rolling away,” Dorries went on.

“The key moment will be what happens in the Wellingborough by-election next Thursday and how much of a percetange of that vote Reform take.”

Ben Habib Launches His Election Campaign In Wellingborough
Ben Habib Launches His Election Campaign In Wellingborough. Picture: Getty

Mr Bone was ousted from the Commons in December and a by-election triggered after more than 10% of constituents in his Wellingborough seat voted to recall him.

His partner, a local councillor, was then selected as the candidate to replace him.

Labour accused the Conservatives at the time of "caving" to the demands by Bone that his partner be picked to stand in his former seat during a by-election.