Liberal Democrats candidate Richard Foord has won the Tiverton and Honiton by-election – defeating the Conservatives by more than 6,000 votes.
Mr Foord said the result was a political ‘shockwave’ and constituents had sent a ‘loud and clear message’ to Tory Prime Minister Boris Johnson, writes Local Democracy Reporter Ollie Heptinstall.
Former army major Mr Foord overturned a 24,000-plus majority secured at the last general election by long-serving Conservative Neil Parish.
Mr Parish, who had held the seat for 12 years, resigned as MP after he admitted watching pornography on his mobile phone in the House of Commons.
Mr Foord said: “Tonight, the people of Tiverton and Honiton have spoken for Britain. They’ve sent a loud and clear message – it’s time for Boris Johnson to go – and go now.
“Ours is a great country, and there’s no greater part of it than Devon. But every day Boris Johnson clings to office, he brings further shame, chaos and neglect.
“Communities like ours are on their knees. Every one of us standing on this stage as candidates has heard the pain people are suffering as the cost-of-living crisis starts to bite.
“Yet when Boris Johnson could be fighting for farmers, for our NHS and for rural services, he’ll be fighting once again to save his own political skin.”
Mr Foord promised to ‘work tirelessly’ for his new constituents, adding: “Whether you supported me or someone else, I want to let you know I’m here to represent you and stand up for everyone in Tiverton and Honiton.
“I will never take you for granted.”
Defeats in Tiverton and Honiton and in Wakefield mean Boris Johnson becomes the first Prime Minster to lose two seats at by-elections on the same night since John Mayor in 1991.
Tiverton and Honiton by-election results
- Richard Foord, Liberal Democrats: 22,537
- Helen Hurford, Conservatives: 16,393
- Liz Pole, Labour: 1,562
- Gill Westcott, Green Party: 1,064
- Andy Foan, Reform UK: 481
- Ben Walker, UKIP: 241
- Jordan Donoghue-Morgan, Heritage Party: 167
- Frankie Rufolo, For Britain: 146
The turnout was 42,707 – 52.3 per cent.
East Devon District Council leader Paul Arnott congratulated Mr Foord for a ‘brilliant campaign run with truth, passion and courtesy’.
He added: “We look forward enormously to a brilliant and effective working relationship with EDDC, where the Democratic Alliance, including the Lib Dems, is now in a third year of control.
“The Tories were ejected from East Devon after 45 years of running the council in 2019.
“And now with tonight’s results, it was not just a negative vote against Mr Johnson, it is a historic win for the majority of people who live in this amazing place.
“Richard and I will now meet on Friday to discuss how we will work together with immediate effect for the public good.”