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Latest by-elections: Counting underway as Sunak faces test in Mid-Bedfordshire and Tamworth

Mid-Bedfordshire and Tamworth by-elections: key statistics

Polling stations have closed in two hotly contested by-elections with counting underway for the seats of Tamworth in Staffordshire and Mid Bedfordshire.

The results are considered too close to call, but are expected to pose a challenge to the government under fire from Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

The Mid Bedfordshire by-election was triggered by the resignation of former Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries, with voters choosing between 13 candidates for the seat.

Chris Pincher, who had represented the Staffordshire seat since 2010, stood down on September 7, along with nine candidates in Tamworth.

Polling stations opened at 7 a.m. and closed at 10 p.m., with results expected early Friday morning.

Some experts predict turnout will be low due to stormy weather, with rain and wind warnings in place across much of the UK.

All three main parties played down their prospects in the election, with the Conservatives saying “governments don’t win by-elections”, Labor saying victories would be “distant” and the Liberal Democrats saying they were happy “whatever the result “. “.


Counting for the Mid Bedfordshire by-election is in full swing, with results expected around 1.30am.

Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives have all sought to play down expectations for the seat – which is expected to be a close three-way battle.


Archie MitchellOctober 19, 2023 11:50 p.m.


Liberal Democrats: “Voters are disappointed with the government… and Nadine Dorries”

The Liberal Democrats have said voters in Mid Bedfordshire are disappointed with Rishi Sunak’s government – and the conduct of former MP Nadine Dorries.

Party spokeswoman Christine Jardine said the biggest issue raised at the door was the shortage of GPs.

But the Edinburgh West MP said voters also express “general dissatisfaction with the Government” and are “disappointed” with Ms Dorries.

“Rishi Sunak, the cabinet and everyone in government don’t really seem to understand the issues that people are facing, they’re a bit out of touch, very affected actually,” Ms Jardine said. The independent.

Archie MitchellOctober 19, 2023 11:35 p.m.


Liberal Democrats: “No regrets if we split the votes”

The Liberal Democrats said they would not regret splitting the vote, even if it returned Mid Bedfordshire to the Conservatives.

The contest was a bitterly fought three-way battle between the Conservatives, Labor and the Liberal Democrats, with pundits predicting the Conservatives could come through the middle to win.

And Liberal Democrat cabinet spokeswoman Christine Jardine said the party would have no regrets if it did so.

“What is important is that Conservative voters came to us in large numbers and in the same way as we have seen in other seats,” she said. The independent.

But Ms Jardine said: “It’s a huge mountain to climb from third place (in the 2019 general election) and we won’t know until the count is done. »

Archie MitchellOctober 19, 2023 11:20 p.m.


How safe are the seats up for grabs?

Losing Tamworth or Mid Bedfordshire would be a major blow to Rishi Sunak’s hopes of winning the election next year.

The Conservatives have held Mid Bedfordshire since 1931 and Nadine Dorries, who resigned in protest at not being on Boris Johnson’s resignation honors list, retained it in 2019 by 24,664 votes against Labor, second.

Meanwhile, Mr Sunak’s party is defending a majority of 19,600 votes in Tamworth.

In Mid Bedfordshire, a three-way fight saw the Liberal Democrats take on Labor and the Conservatives, which could make it easier for Conservative candidate Festus Akinbusoye.

But Tamworth has been a clearer two-horse race between Labor and the Conservatives, with Labor more optimistic about its chances in the Staffordshire town.

Archie MitchellOctober 19, 2023 10:59 p.m.


What time will we have the results of the by-elections?

Mid Bedfordshire will be first to report, with results expected around 1.30am. Results from the contest in Tamworth are expected around 3am, although both could be delayed if a recount is required.

Archie MitchellOctober 19, 2023 10:38 p.m.


Ballot boxes have started arriving for counting in Mid Bedfordshire

Ballot boxes have started arriving for counting in Mid Bedfordshire, with a result expected in just three hours.


Archie MitchellOctober 19, 2023 10:33 p.m.


And Labor is downplaying its prospects too

Labor said winning the safe Tory seats of Tamworth and Mid Bedfordshire was still a “long shot”.

“Our candidates and their teams in Tamworth and Mid Bedfordshire have worked extremely hard to put Labor in the race for traditionally safe Conservative seats,” campaign coordinator Pat McFadden said.

He said local people were “fed up” with the Conservative Party, but stressed Labor faced “huge majorities” in both parties.

“The fact that we are equal on the ground shows how much the Labor Party has changed,” Mr McFadden said.

Archie MitchellOctober 19, 2023 10:13 p.m.


The Liberal Democrats also adopt a cautious tone

The Liberal Democrats also struck a cautious tone, saying that “whatever the outcome” the party’s vote share had “jumped in true blue villages”.

Party cabinet spokeswoman Christine Jardine said she was “overflowing with pride” at Emma Holland-Lindsay’s campaign in Mid Bedfordshire.

“Emma rolled up her sleeves, carried out constituency surgeries when the absent Tory MP was nowhere to be found, and has already started helping local people who were feeling seriously let down,” she said.

Ms Jardine also said the party’s Tamworth candidate Sunny Virk had also “made our party and our country’s democracy proud”.

Archie MitchellOctober 19, 2023 10:12 p.m.


The Conservatives are in expectation management mode when the polls close

The Conservatives began to manage expectations from the start, saying that “governments don’t win by-elections.”

The party has sought to downplay enthusiasm for Sir Keir Starmer and the Labor Party, saying he “stands for nothing”.

As polls closed in Tamworth and Mid Bedfordshire, a Conservative spokesperson said: “These by-elections were always going to be difficult and the general rule is that governments don’t win them. We saw little or no enthusiasm for

“Sir Keir Starmer, who voters can see, stands for nothing and always prioritizes short-term political gains.

“It is clear that we must remain focused on the immediate priorities of citizens while making long-term decisions that will lead to the change this country needs.”

Archie MitchellOctober 19, 2023 10:10 p.m.


Polls close as counting begins for two crucial by-elections for Sunak

Polling stations in Mid Befordshire and Tamworth in Staffordshire have closed, with counting underway for two hotly contested seats.

Rishi Sunak hopes to retain the two Conservative seats, following the resignations of former Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries and Chris Pincher earlier this year.

Results are expected to be announced early Friday morning.

Holly EvansOctober 19, 2023 10:00 p.m.


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