Voters are ‘going through a tough time’, Boris Johnson has said following two huge losses in by-elections by the Conservatives.
The prime minister’s comments came after Oliver Dowden resigned as Tory party co-chairman following the results.
Mr Johnson has told reporters he promises to ‘listen’ to voters who are struggling with issues such as the living cost crisis.
He said: ‘It’s absolutely true we’ve had some tough by-election results, they’ve been, I think, a reflection of a lot of things, but we’ve got to recognise voters are going through a tough time at the moment.
‘I think, as a Government, I’ve got to listen to what people are saying, in particular to the difficulties people are facing over the cost of living, which, I think, for most people is the number one issue.
‘We’re now facing pressures on the cost of living, we’re seeing spikes in fuel prices, energy costs, food costs – that’s hitting people.’
Last night, the Lib Dems took Tiverton and Honiton swing to the while Labour regained control of Wakefield.
Both by-elections were triggered by the resignation of disgraced Tories.
Mr Johnson, who was speaking to reporters in Rwanda, added: ‘We’ve got to recognise there is more we’ve got to do and we certainly will, we will keep going, addressing the concerns of people until we get through this patch.’
He also highlighted the need to ‘reflect’ on how voters feel following the coronavirus pandemic and amid the living cost crisis.
Conservative chairman Oliver Dowden made the dramatic decision to quit moments before he was due to appear on air to discuss last night’s double defeats.
In a letter to the PM he wrote: ‘Yesterday’s parliamentary by-elections are the latest in a run of very poor result for our party.
‘Our supporters are distressed and disappointed by recent events, and I share their feelings.
‘We cannot carry on with business as usual. Somebody must take responsibility and I have concluded that, in these circumstances, it would not be right for me to remain in office.’
The Tiverton by-election had been triggered after Tory MP Neil Parish quit after being caught watching pornography in the House of Commons.
He said the first time he viewed the x-rated content was accidental after looking at tractors, but the second time was deliberate.
Richard Foord, who secured a majority of 6,144 in Tiverton last night, claimed his victory ‘sent a shockwave through British politics’.
Meanwhile in Wakefield, Simon Lightwood was elected with a majority of 4,925 on a swing of 12.7% from the Tories to Labour.
The area’s previous MP Imran Ahmad Khan stood down after he was found guilty of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy – a crime for which he was jailed for 18 months.
The 48-year-old forced the teenager to drink gin and tonic, pushed him on to a bed and asked him to watch pornography before the attack, which took place in 2008.
The revelations sparked the 48-year-old’s expulsion from the Tory Party, before he resigned as an MP in West Yorkshire.
Mr Johnson is currently in Rwanda and spoke to reporters in Kigali about the election results back in England.
He’s made the trips to defend what he says are ‘obvious merits’ of the government’s controversial deportation policy.
The prime minister is expected to meet with Prince Charles today for ‘talks over cups of tea’.
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