North Shropshire is ‘fed up’ of being taken for granted by Tories – ‘Enough is enough’

North Shropshire by-election: Conservatives beaten by Lib Dems

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People in the former true blue safe seat have slammed the Government following the party’s humiliating defeat. Helen Morgan overturned a Tory majority of almost 23,000 in a by-election blow to Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Grace Goodlad, landlady at The Bailey Head pub in Oswestry, said: “I’m absolutely delighted. We’re fed up of being taken for granted by the Tories here.

“My business struggled because of lockdowns. I limited contact with my family. My friends have lost parents and not been able to be with them. And meanwhile there were parties at Number 10. That’s disgusting. Enough is enough.

“North Shropshire has spoken.”

Oswestry shop worker Karen Reynolds put the shock defeat down to Tory sleaze, claiming the party’s MPs were out of touch with ordinary people’s lives and had that it had fielded a candidate who does not live in the constituency.

On what the Tories can do to reverse their fortunes, Karen said: “Get rid of all the dinosaurs who are completely out of touch with reality. The ones whose hands are in so many different pockets.”

She described the Conservatives as “morally corrupt” after the scandal which led to the resignation of Owen Paterson, who had commanded a majority of 22,949 at the last General Election and breached parliamentary lobbying rules.

On the Lib Dem win, Karen said: “I think this is a marvellous result. This has been such a safe seat for them for such a long time. They must be shocked to their core.”

READ MORE ON WHITTY MOVING INTO NUMBER 10

Paul, a stallholder at Cambrian House Emporium in Oswestry, predicted Prime Minister Boris Johnson would ride out the storm, putting Ms Morgan’s success down to tactical voting on the part of people who would usually vote Labour.

He said: “It was definitely tactical voting. Labour didn’t try. The [Number 10] parties were a factor. The Tories need to clean up their act, but I don’t think they would lose the next General Election because of it.”

Market Drayton deputy mayor Mark Whittle, who resigned as chairman of the local Conservative Party over the national party’s treatment of Mr Paterson, put the North Shropshire defeat down to Mr Johnson acting “like a total buffoon”.

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He said the vast majority of Conservatives in the town are lost because of indecision on the Prime Minister’s part and are now looking for somewhere else to put their vote.

After leaving the Tories, Mr Whittle joined Reform UK whose candidate Kirsty Walmsley came fifth in the by-election after coming down with Covid.

Mr Whittle predicted more disenchanted Conservatives will join Reform UK, resulting in Tory councillors disappearing from town halls.

He said: “This is the ripple effect. Reform is one of those ripples.”

Veteran Tory MP Sir Roger Gale told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the electorate wanted to send a very clear message to Downing Street that they were dissatisfied with the management of the Government.

He said: “This has to be seen as a referendum on the Prime Minister’s performance and I think the Prime Minister is now in last orders time. Two strikes already – one earlier this week in the vote in the Commons, now this. One more strike and he’s out.

“If the Prime Minister fails, the Prime Minister goes.”

Conservative Party co-chairman Oliver Dowden MP told Sky News voters in North Shropshire were fed up and had given the Tories a kicking.

He said: “They wanted to send us a message and we’ve heard that loud and clear.”

Mr Dowden denied the result was a referendum on Mr Johnson and hailed the Prime Minister as an electoral asset for the Conservative Party.

When asked if letters were being written to the Tories’ backbench 1922 Committee, he replied that he had no idea.

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