Boris Johnson takes responsibility for North Shropshire defeat

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After a huge Tory rebellion over Covid passports on Tuesday and the disastrous by-election result on Thursday, losing the ultra-safe North Shropshire seat to the Lib Dems, Boris Johnson’s premiership now hangs in the balance, according to MPs from his own party. According to one Tory MP, the horrendous coupling of events showed Boris’s own party were trying to “send him a message”.

According to one Tory MP, the horrendous coupling of events showed Boris’s own party were trying to “send him a message”.

The MP told the Telegraph: “We have to see some central changes, firstly in No 10, and secondly in the way the MPs are managed by the whips.

“I think he’s got one last chance to get that sorted by mid-February next year, otherwise you’re into local election season and after that point I don’t know if you can come back.”

Conservative MPs have demanded an improvement in the Prime Minister’s performance after the Conservatives were humiliated in the North Shropshire by-election.

The Liberal Democrats overturned a 22,949 Tory majority into a 5,925 majority of their own on a 34 percent swing, the biggest in any by-election since 2012.

This was the first time in over 190 years that the rural pro-Brexit seat had not returned a Tory MP.

Veteran Tory MP Sir Roger Gale argued that the election disaster should be viewed as “a referendum on the Prime Minister’s performance” warning that Mr Johnson was in “last orders time”.

He told the BBC on Friday: “Two strikes already, one earlier this week in the vote in the Commons and now this.

“One more strike and he’s out.”

Allies of the Prime Minister believe that the number of no confidence letters sent to Chairman of the 1922 committee of backbench MPs only number around nine or ten, well short of the 54 needed to trigger a leadership contest.

However, one senior Tory MP claimed that more letters of no confidence were likely to be sent, particularly by newer MPs who were more likely to represent Red Wall seats.

They told the Telegraph: “A few nervy colleagues will put letters in this weekend. I don’t think you’ll get a stampede, but you’ll get a few from particularly nervy newbies”.

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Brexiteer Mark Francois stressed that the Prime Minister needed to mend relations with his backbenchers insisting that although the by-election loss “isn’t terminal” it should be “a massive wake up call”.

He added: “No 10 now [has] to understand [it has] a major problem in its communications with the parliamentary party and it has to do something meaningful to overcome it.”

The Prime Minister said on Friday that he took “personal responsibility” for what he described as a “very disappointing” result in the by-election.

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