PM Media acaba de romper esto.
Boris Johnson ha dicho que «escuchará» a los votantes pero que «seguirá adelante» después de que los tories sufrieran una doble derrota en las elecciones parciales.
En su entrevista del programa Hoy dominic raab, el secretario de Justicia y viceprimer ministro, afirmó que la falta de participación de los partidarios conservadores fue un factor clave en la derrota en Tiverton y Honiton. Él dijo:
Mi opinión es que las elecciones parciales, ambas, fueron el resultado de la tormenta perfecta de escenarios locales muy difíciles, dada la situación de los diputados conservadores anteriormente en funciones, más los vientos en contra nacionales, en primer lugar, inevitablemente, por un medio de gobierno, pero también, francamente, las distracciones que hemos tenido.
Creo que el primer ministro lo expresó bien: debemos escuchar con mucha atención, debemos tomar en cuenta esa retroalimentación.
pienso [with[ Tiverton, the most striking thing is how many of our supporters didn’t come out. We need to spend the next two years absolutely relentlessly focused on delivering our plan, without those distractions and with a real calm focus on delivering.
Boris Johnson has not accepted any personal responsibility for the Tory byelection defeats in the open letter he has written responding to Oliver Dowden’s resignation. (See 6.44am.) Johnson told Dowden:
Thank you for your letter and I am sad to see you leave government.
As minister for the Cabinet Office, secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport and co-chairman of the Conservative party, it has been a pleasure to work alongside you for the last three years.
In each of those roles you have given your best and focused on delivering for the British people.
Whilst I completely understand your disappointment with the by-election results, this government was elected with a historic mandate just over two years ago to unite and level up. I look forward to continuing to work together on that.
In his letter Johnson seems to be wilfully misinterpreting the message in Dowden’s letter. When Dowden said that supporters were “distressed and disappointed by recent events”, he was not referring only to election defeats. He also seemed to be referring to Partygate, and to Johnson’s own conduct. (Dowden’s language is very similar to the language used by many other Tory MPs when they sent emails to constituents who asked for their response to the Sue Gray report revelations.)
Johnson does not acknowledge this. Instead it sounds more as if he is saying that the person Dowden is disappointed in is Dowden himself.
My colleague Heather Stewart has the full text of the letter.
Asked if Boris Johnson had asked Simon Case, the cabinet secretary, to make inquiries about a possible job for his wife, Raab said he had no knowledge of that.
When it was put to him that Boris Johnson would remain a distraction for the government, Raab said he did not accept that. He claimed Johnson was someone who had got the big calls right.
Dominic Raab, the justice secretary and deputy prime minister, is on the Today programme. He is standing in for Oliver Dowden, who had been scheduled to speak for the government, but who resign instead.
Asked what would change as a result of the byelection defeats, Raab sidestepped the question and instead insisted the government had a “positive agenda”.
The opposition parties did not have an agenda, he claimed. He said their only strategy was to run an electoral pact.
At the general election the choice facing voters would be different, he said.
Nick Robinson, the presenter, said that in Dowden’s resignation letter he said the party could not carry on “with business as usual”. He asked Raab again what was going to change. In response, Raab stressed the government’s determination to tackle the problems facing the country. He went on:
We will be relentlessly focused on deliver … The change is not allowing anything to get in the way of that.
Sir Roger Gale, who was one of the first Conservative MPs to call for Boris Johnson’s resignation over Partygate earlier this year, told BBC Breadkfast this morning that the PM had “trashed” the party’s reputation.
Asked if he expected other cabinet ministers to follow Oliver Dowden’s lead and resign, Gale replied:
It is possible that that may happen but it is up to my colleagues in the cabinet to decide whether they can go on supporting a prime minister who, frankly, has trashed the reputation of the Conservative party, my party, for honesty, for decency, for integrity and for compassion.
Asked who should replace Johnson, Gale said the party was “spoilt for choice”. He said:
There are several people who would make very good prime ministers within the party and one of those will emerge between now and the next general election and lead us into the next general election, which I trust we shall win.
BBC News has now broadcast a fuller clip from Boris Johnson responding to the byelection defeats from Rwanda this morning. He said that he did not want to minimise the importance of what happened – but then went on to it was normal for governments to lose byelections in mid term. He said:
I think that what governments also have to recognise is that I don’t want to minimise the importance of what voters are saying, but it is also true that in mid-term, government, post-war, lose by-elections.
I think if you look back to last May the truly astonishing thing was we managed to win Hartlepool in very different circumstances.
What we need to do now is reflect on where voters are, and what they are basically feeling is that we came through Covid well and we took a lot of the right decisions there. But we are facing pressures on the costs of living.
We are seeing spikes in fuel prices, energy costs, food costs, that is hitting people. We have to recognise that there is more that we have got to do and we certainly will, we will keep going addressing the concerns of people until we get through this patch.
Louise Haigh, the shadow transport secretary, told BBC Breakfast that the Wakefield election result was beyond her wildest dreams. She said:
We were obviously hoping for victory last night in Wakefield, but the result went beyond our wildest dreams.
It was a higher turnout than we expected, a much bigger swing, and a much bigger vote share as well, which went far beyond any that we’ve achieved for several general elections in a row now.
I think there was a kind of narrative about Wakefield that it was a safe Labour seat that just happened to go blue in 2019, but, actually, it’s been quite a marginal seat for several general elections in a row.
This is one of the biggest majorities that Labour has returned for almost 20 years. So, we are thoroughly delighted with the trust that the people of Wakefield have placed in Simon Lightwood and Keir Starmer’s Labour Party.
Oliver Dowden had been due to do the morning broadcast interview round on behalf of the government. But he not not turn up for a scheduled interview with Sky News and, on the Today programme a few minutes ago, the presenter Mishal Husain suggested she did not expect him to turn up there either.
This suggests that, although Dowden’s resignation letter contained implied criticism of Boris Johnson, he has not gone fully rogue. No 10 may not want him on the airwaves now, but he would be perfectly free to give interviews if he wanted to. He may be holding back because he does not want to say any more than what he said in his letter.
Ed Davey, the Lib Dem leader, told LBC that the lesson from the Tiverton and Honiton byelection was that Boris Johnson should go. He said:
We’ve just had the biggest by-election victory here in Devon. No majority of this size has ever been overturned in a by-election, so I’m pretty chipper today.
We are smiling here and the message from Tiverton and Honiton, the people here in Devon, is that Boris Johnson must go. I think they’ve spoken for the whole of the British people and it really is time he left …
I think [the result] habla en nombre de la gente – Boris Johnson realmente debe ser expulsado.
Esto es lo que boris jhonson dijo a los locutores en Kigali esta mañana sobre las derrotas electorales. Está en Ruanda para la cumbre de la Commonwealth.
Johnson insinuó que la crisis del costo de vida fue la culpable de lo que sucedió, no su propia conducta o liderazgo. Él dijo:
Es absolutamente cierto que hemos tenido algunos resultados difíciles en las elecciones parciales. Han sido, creo, un reflejo de muchas cosas, pero tenemos que reconocer que los votantes están pasando por un momento difícil en este momento.
Creo que, como gobierno, tengo que escuchar lo que dice la gente, en particular las dificultades que enfrenta la gente por el costo de vida, que, creo, para la mayoría de la gente es el problema número uno.
Ahora enfrentamos presiones sobre el costo de vida, estamos viendo picos en los precios del combustible, los costos de la energía, los costos de los alimentos, eso está afectando a la gente.
Tenemos que reconocer que hay más que tenemos que hacer y ciertamente lo haremos, seguiremos adelante, abordando las preocupaciones de las personas hasta que superemos este parche.
Johnson también agradeció a Oliver Dowden por su trabajo como copresidente conservador.