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Rishi Sunak's Conservative Party suffers big defeats in UK by-elections, narrowly avoids whitewash

The Conservative Party in UK is struggling to deal with a decline in economy and public services, as well as reeling from the lockdown breaches by ex-PM Boris Johnson and his team.

Edited By: Aveek Banerjee London Published on: July 21, 2023 11:56 IST
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson
Image Source : AP UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson

Displaying their bleak chances in the UK's expected general election next year, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's Conservative Party suffered two major defeats in three special elections held on Thursday. 

However, the party managed to narrowly avoid a wipeout with a surprise victory in former PM Boris Johnson's seat in Uxbridge and South Ruislip by 495 votes.

The main opposition Labour Party won the seat in Selby and Ainsty, while the Liberal Democrats won Somerton and Frome, both previously considered as Conserative strongholds. The defeats are most likely to leave Conservative lawmakers anxious as the next general election is likely to be held next year.

Meanwhile, BBC reported that Keir Mather, the Labour Party candidate who won the by-election in Selby and Ainsty, is the youngest British MP in Westminster at 25 years of age.

The result of the by-elections is a sign that voters are rejecting the Conservative Party over a serious of troubles including but not limited to the struggling British economy and the decline in public services.

The Conservatives still have a big majority in the House of Commons. If the Labour Party replicates the results of the by-elections at the general poll, it could emerge as as the biggest single party.

Meanwhile, Sunak could initiate a Cabinet shuffle as the lawmakers of his party are grappling with Thursday's results. Many experts believe that the results show that Sunak is struggling to stop his party's possible downfall at the general election.

(with AP inputs)

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