The Prime Minister could be facing a Tory revolt after the shock by-election defeat as the Liberal Democrats overturned the huge Conservative majority and won the North Shropshire by-election.
Lib Dem candidate Helen Morgan won by 5,925 votes which is a major blow for Boris Johnson’s authority to lead the country and the Conservative Party.
Veteran backbencher Sir Roger Gale warned that Johnson is now living on borrowed time as Prime Minister.
“I think this has to be seen as a referendum on the Prime Minister’s performance and I think that the Prime Minister is now in ‘last orders’ time,” he told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.
“Two strikes already, one earlier this week in the vote in the Commons and now this. One more strike and he’s out.
“The Conservative Party has a reputation for not taking prisoners. If the Prime Minister fails, the Prime Minister goes.
“We got rid of a good prime minister to install Mr Johnson.
“Mr Johnson has to prove that he’s capable of being a good Prime Minister and at the moment it’s quite clear that the public don’t think that that’s the case.”
Even before the Johnson’s major defeat the mood was said to be “sulphurous” and the senior backbencher Sir Charles Walker warned that a leadership challenge would be “self-indulgent.”
Sir Charles, is the committee vice-chairman, and he acknowledged that Tory voters were “tired, angry, exhausted,” but he insists now is not the time for a leadership contest.
“The Conservative Party is not going to have a leadership challenge as we are heading into potential further restrictions around Covid and difficulties around Covid,” he told the Today programme.
“That would be completely self-indulgent.”
Labour shadow business secretary, Jonathan Reynolds, said the by-election lose was a “terrible result” for the Conservatives.
He told BBC Breakfast, “Clearly, people have wanted to send a message to the Government they’re fed up with the incompetence, the sleaze, the kind of revelations we’ve seen over the last few weeks.”
Sir Ed Davey said it was a “watershed moment” in British politics.
“We’ve now this year beaten the Conservatives in two of their safest seats,” he said.
“Liberal Democrats have proven the Conservatives can be beaten anywhere. And I think people are so fed up with Boris Johnson, so fed up with his incompetence and his behaviour, I think they’ll be really happy about that.”