Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party lost control of a previously safe parliamentary seat on Friday in a surprise election result interpreted as a voter backlash against a British leader beset by crises and scandal.
The centrist Liberal Democrats party candidate, Helen Morgan, won the North Shropshire seat by a majority of nearly 6,000 votes, overturning a 23,000 vote Conservative majority from 2019.
“Tonight, the people of North Shropshire have spoken on behalf of the British people. They have said loudly and clearly: ‘Boris Johnson, the party is over’,” Morgan said in her victory speech.
The Conservatives had won every previous election for the mostly rural area of central England ever since the constituency was created in its current form in 1983.
The huge swing in local opinion comes at time when Johnson is facing criticism on several fronts, including over reports that his staff held parties last Christmas when the country was in lockdown.
The vote for the North Shropshire area, one of 650 seats in Britain’s parliament, was called outside of the regular election cycle because the incumbent Conservative resigned after he was found to have broken rules on paid lobbying.