National News

Two Safe Tory Seats Swing To Labour

Billy O’Neill

The Conservative Party suffered two defeats in by-elections in Tamworth and Mid-Bedfordshire last Thursday 19th October. Both constituencies went to the Labour Party in major swings from blue to red.

A 23.9% vote swing from the Conservatives to Labour


Labour Party candidate Sarah Edwards won with a narrow majority of 1,316 over Conservative Party candidate Andrew Cooper, with a respective vote share of 45.8% to 40.7%.

The electoral turnout was only 35.9%. There was a 23.9% vote swing from the Conservatives to Labour – the second biggest of such a kind since 1945.


Alistair Strathern of the Labour Party overcame Tory party candidate Festus Akinbusoye by a margin of 1,192 votes. The respective vote share was 34.1% to 31.1%, and the voter turnout was 44%.

Sir Keir Starmer […]  interpret(ed) the results as a reflection of Labour being a “changed party”

Here, we witnessed another sizable switch, with the red candidate securing a 20.5% swing in the votes from 2019.

The Labour Party hadn’t won this seat before in its history.

The by-elections occurred as a result of two resignations: in Tamworth, that of Chris Pincher, who resigned after losing his appeal against a suspension over allegations of sexual misconduct, and in Mid-Bedfordshire, that of Nadine Dorries, who resigned following controversy over her exclusion from former PM Boris Johnson’s resignation honours list.

Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer was jubilant, describing the results as a “game changer”, interpreting the results as a reflection of Labour being a “changed party” since its drubbing in the 2019 General Election, and that this also demonstrated voters’ frustration at thirteen years of “failure and decline” under successive Conservative Governments.

Rishi Sunak said the results were “obviously disappointing”

Leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the results were “obviously disappointing”, citing “local factors” as a possible reason among others.

Greg Hands, the Chair of the Conservative Party since February 2023, has claimed that the biggest problem was traditional “Conservative voters staying at home”, and that the Party needs to find ways to “energise” its voters in order to win again.

Now Ex-MP Dorries touted Rishi Sunak as “absolutely to blame” on her TalkTV show, stating that the Party had got itself into a “catastrophic mess”.

Concerns for the Conservative Party are obvious, as these results draw a harmful comparison between now and the years leading up to the Labour landslide victory under Tony Blair in 1997: Labour then also took the constituency of Tamworth in a by-election by a swing of 22%, and Thursday’s swing of 23.9% from blue to red is the second largest in history, behind the Dudley-West by-election in 1994.

Only time will tell about the impact these results will have

A national election will take place in 2025 at the latest, but only time will tell about the impact these results will have, and the clairvoyance of their prophecy on the future of British politics.

Billy O’Neill

Featured image courtesy of Manny Becerra via Unsplash. Image license found here. No changes were made to this image.

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