Tories maintain hold on Boris Johnson's former Uxbridge seat in by-election blow to Labour's Keir Starmer

21 July 2023, 03:28 | Updated: 21 July 2023, 04:08

The Tories have kept a hold on their Uxbridge seat
The Tories have kept a hold on their Uxbridge seat. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

The Conservative Party has held on to Boris Johnson's former Uxbridge seat in a blow to Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer.

Labour had hoped to take Uxbridge and South Ruislip but were beaten by Tory Steve Tuckwell, who managed to retain it for Rishi Sunak's party.

The Conservative victory means that Mr Sunak has been spared the prospect of being the first prime minister since 1968 to lose three by-elections on the same day.

But the leader was defeated by the Liberal Democrats in Somerton and Frome, with Sir Ed Davey's party saying they had "romped home".

Meanwhile, in Selby and Ainsty, Labour took the majority.

Watch live: Lib Dems win Somerton and Frome seat as second of three crucial by-election results comes in

Newly-elected MP Steve Tuckwell hopes his win sends a message to London Mayor Sadiq Khan

London mayor Sadiq Khan's policy of expanding the Ulez low emission zone to outer boroughs - including Uxbridge and South Ruislip - has been blamed for the party's failure to take the seat.

Mr Tuckwell told LBC he was not expecting to win but managed to do so due to "complete opposition to the expansion of Ulez".

"That determination to push Ulez on Uxbridge and South Ruislip has cost Labour the election this evening," he added.

Labour candidate Danny Beales previously distanced himself from the policy, saying it was "not the right time" to expand the £12.50 daily charge for cars which fail to meet emissions standards.

The failure to overturn the Tory majority in the seat was dubbed "Uloss" by a party insider in a sign of the unease at Mr Khan's plan.

In public, senior Labour figures acknowledged Ulez had been a factor in the vote.

Shadow justice secretary Steve Reed said: "I think there's been a number of issues at play, but there has certainly been a number of voters who have said to us that they are very concerned about Ulez.

"Everyone wants to see clean air. But for some people, I think, given the chaos that there is in the economy, because the Conservatives have crashed it and the cost-of-living crisis that they fuelled, that this is the wrong time to introduce a charge for Ulez."

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