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Sir Ed Davey, 55, is unable to visit the constituency he has added to his orange Commons contingent after he was forced into isolation due to COVID-19. However, the Kingston & Surbiton MP took a swipe at Boris Johnson, 57, following the declaration in North Shropshire.
The Liberal Democrat leader said: “This result is a watershed moment in our politics and offers hope to people around the country that a brighter future is possible.
“Millions of people are fed up with Boris Johnson and his failure to provide leadership throughout the pandemic and last night the voters of North Shropshire spoke for all of them.
“This is the second stunning by-election victory this year for the Liberal Democrats – both in formerly safe Conservative seats.
“From Buckinghamshire to Shropshire, lifelong Conservatives have turned to the Liberal Democrats in their droves and sent a clear message to the Prime Minister that the party is over.
“The Liberal Democrats believe people deserve a fair deal where everyone plays by the same rules – including those in Downing Street.
“We will fight for that fair deal with good schools, safe streets and high-quality healthcare.”
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The Liberal Democrats leapfrogged Labour and the Tories to win in North Shropshire with an enormous swing of 34 percent, increasing the party’s vote share from just 10 percent in 2019 to 47.
The Conservative Party, who received 62 percent of the vote in the Brexit election, were knocked back to just 32 percent.
North Shropshire is also a seat with strong Tory roots.
Before yesterday’s by-election, voters in the constituency have been represented in the House of Commons by a Conservative in every poll since 1906.
However, it was not only the Tories that took a backward step.
The Labour Party, led by 59-year-old Sir Keir Starmer, were also landed with an electoral blow as their vote share dipped from 22 points to just 10.
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Liberal Democrat victory in North Shropshire, a seat which voted to leave the European Union in 2016, was the second by-election victory made by the party.
The Liberal Democrats also took the Blue Wall Buckinghamshire seat of Chesham & Amersham from the Tory Party back in June.
But the North Shropshire poll has come after the Prime Minister faced pressure from the public and his party amid reports Downing Street hosted festive parties last Christmas and following a backbench rebellion over Covid passes.
The by-election was also triggered in an unfavourable way for Mr Johnson.
Brexit-backing ex-Northern Ireland Secretary Owen Paterson, 65, vacated the seat after he was found to have breached lobbying rules when two companies paid him over £100,000-a-year in a consultancy job.
Victory for the Liberal Democrats now opens up a number of seats in England where the Tory Party could be vulnerable.
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Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab, 47, was already at risk in his Surrey seat of Esher & Walton where he commands a slim 2,743-vote majority.
Even Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg, 52, could be in a vulnerable position if the swing at North Shropshire was emulated in a national poll.
The prominent Eurosceptic was returned as the MP for North East Somerset with a majority of almost 16,000 – well below the 22,000-vote majority overturned last night.
There are around 26 Conservative constituencies where the Liberal Democrats only require a swing of 10 percent or less to bolster their numbers in the Commons.
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