North Shropshire: 'It was really a referendum on Boris Johnson and Boris Johnson lost'

17 December 2021, 14:11 | Updated: 17 December 2021, 14:25

By Amelia Isaacs

This is the moment Andrew Neil told LBC that the by-election in North Shropshire was really a referendum on Boris Johnson which the Prime Minister lost.

The by-election saw the Liberal Democrats overturn a Tory majority, with the party's candidate Helen Morgan winning by nearly 6,000 votes.

The by-election comes after Owen Paterson, who had a near-23,000 majority in the West Midlands constituency after the 2019 General Election, resigned after breaking lobbying rules.

Mr Neil told LBC's Nick Ferrari: “Well, I think the thing to realise is this wasn’t a normal by-election.

“It was really a referendum on Boris Johnson and Boris Johnson lost. He lost spectacularly."

He added: “And the darling of the Tories, because he was a winner, the man that won Brexit, the man that won a landslide against Jeremy Corbyn, the man that won two mayoral elections in London — a Labour city — the winner, this morning is now a loser.

“And given that he really only became leader because he was a winner, if he’s lost that then his hold on the leadership becomes more tenuous."

Read more: 'Boris, the party is over': Lib Dem North Shropshire by-election win piles pressure on PM

Mr Neil continued: “I think it’s hard to underestimate how catastrophic this is for Boris Johnson, and the other thing is what really rankles among Tory MPs is that it’s entirely self-inflicted.

“If he had allowed Owen Paterson to take the punishment that was due to him, we would’ve woken up this morning without a by-election and Owen Paterson still Tory MP for North Shropshire with a majority of 23,000.

“The only reason that’s not the case is because of Boris Johnson and his cack-handed intervention and then the bluster and the dissembling over party-gate [and] wallpaper in the apartment. People have just had enough.

Earlier today, LBC’s Nick Ferrari spoke to Conservative Party Chairman Oliver Dowden, who admitted the party had been given a “kicking” in the North Shropshire by-election.

Mr Dowden said: “Well, I won't mince my words...Voters in North Shropshire were fed up and they’ve given us a kicking."

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