On Friday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party lost control of a previously secure parliamentary seat in a stunning election outcome seen as a public reaction against a British leader besieged by crises and controversy.
Helen Morgan, a centrist Liberal Democrat candidate, won the North Shropshire seat by roughly 6,000 votes, reversing a 23,000-vote Conservative majority from 2019.
“Tonight, the people of North Shropshire spoke on behalf of the people of the United Kingdom.” “They have spoken loudly and clearly, ‘Boris Johnson, the party is over,'” Morgan declared in her victory address.
“Our country is in desperate need of leadership.” You are not a leader, Mr. Johnson.”
Since the constituency’s creation in its current shape in 1983, the Conservatives have won every election in the predominantly rural area of central England. According to Wikipedia, the seat has existed in some form since the 1830s and has always been controlled by a Conservative, according to the BBC.
The large jump comes at a time when Johnson is under fire on multiple fronts, including claims that his staff partied during the country’s lockdown over Christmas.
Following an outcry over parliamentarians’ second jobs, criticism of Johnson’s expensive refurbishing of his flat, and an increase in COVID-19 cases, national opinion surveys show the Conservatives sliding behind their primary competitor, the Labour Party.
The election for the North Shropshire region, one of 650 seats in Britain’s parliament, was held outside of the usual election cycle after the incumbent Conservative resigned after being found to have violated paid lobbying laws.
The government sought to avert the resignation by modifying regulations meant to prevent corruption in parliament, but was forced to reverse following an outpouring of concern about honesty and confidence under Johnson’s leadership.