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By-Elections In Two Conservative Seats To Be Held On 20th July

Two parliamentary by-elections will take place in two Conservative-held seats on 20th July

3 min read

By-elections will take place in two Conservative-held seats on 20th July, after former prime minister Boris Johnson and his ardent loyalist Nigel Adams resigned from Parliament last week.

In Johnson’s former seat, Uxbridge and South Ruislip, the Conservative majority is 7,210 and is expected to be a plausible win for the Labour Party next month. Meanwhile, Nigel Adams’s old seat, Selby and Ainsty, has majority of 20,137 and could be a more difficult victory for Starmer. The Lib Dems will also be keen to make a concerted effort to win the seats, having overturned more than one sizable Conservative majority in recent by-elections.

The date of the two ballots coincides with the final day Parliament sits before the summer recess. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak introduced legal writs to trigger votes to take place in both constituencies.

A third by-election is expected to eventually take place in Mid-Bedfordshire, Nadine Dorries’s seat, when she formally resigns, having also announced her intention to quit parliament last Friday.

According to the FT, the Prime Minister wanted to hold the by-elections on the same day to get them out of the way in one fell swoop. Bookmakers predict the Tories will hold onto Adams's seat by a small margin while they expect Johnson's constituency to be taken by Labour.  

While Dorries said she would be standing down “with immediate effect” she is now resisting the process as a result of a row with Downing Street over not having been granted a peerage in Johnson's prime ministerial resignation honours list.

The former culture secretary has accused Sunak of vindictively blocking her nomination, which the Prime Minister disputes. She has requested documents detailing the process surrounding Johnson's honours list as has indicated she will continue with the resignation process once she has taken "time to properly consider the information I am provided".

“It is absolutely my intention to resign, but given what I know to be true and the number of varying and conflicting statements issued by No10 since the weekend, this process is now sadly necessary,” she tweeted on Wednesday. 

A Liberal Democrat MP told PoliticsHome the longer she stayed in place, the better chance it gave their party of winning the by-election.

"We shouldn't get carried away, as the majority that will need to be overturned is huge. Yet more time means more days/weeks for Liberal Democrat activists in Mid-Bedfordshire to listen to locals and persuade them to vote Lib Dem so as to get a hard working local champion," they told PoliticsHome.

If Boris Johnson had not resigned last week, the Privileges Committee would have suggested to ban the former Prime Minister from Parliament for 90 days - which would have almost certainly triggered a by-election in his Uxbridge constituency. 

The committee's report published today also recommended rescinding the former prime minister's member’s parliamentary pass. MPs will vote on whether to approve the sanctions on Monday.

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