Oliver Downden quits after Tories suffer double by-election defeat

Oliver Dowden has resigned as leader of the Tory party

A Cabinet minister has stopped saying “someone has to take responsibility” after the Tories suffered humiliating losses in two by-elections.

Last night saw Tiverton and Honiton swing to the Lib Dems Labor regained control of Wakefield.

The election campaign sparked by the resignation of the disgraced Tories gave voters a chance to cast their vote on the prime minister, just weeks after 41% of his own MPs said they had no faith in his leadership.

Both elections were lost by a wide margin after months of squalor, the Partygate scandal, the livelihood crisis and the biggest rail strike in a generation.

Conservative leader Oliver Dowden made the dramatic decision to quit just before he was due to appear on the air to discuss the double defeats.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, he said: “Yesterday’s parliamentary by-elections are the latest in a series of very poor results for our party.

“Our supporters are shocked and disappointed by recent events and I share their feelings.

“We cannot continue as usual. Someone has to take responsibility and I have come to the conclusion that in the circumstances it would not be right to remain in office.’

Oliver Dowden @OliverDowden ? 36m My letter of resignation to the Prime Minister.

Resignation letter from Oliver Dowden

The MP ended his letter by emphasizing his loyalty to the party – though not to the Prime Minister.

He said: “I want to emphasize that this is a deeply personal decision that I made on my own.

“As always, I will remain loyal to the Conservative Party.”

Boris Johnson, who lives 4,000 miles away in Rwanda, ruled out quitting even before the devastating results arrived, branding the idea “crazy”.

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Justin Scacco

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