How angry Tories reacted to the shock by-election defeat in North Shropshire

Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown

Veteran Tory MP and treasurer of the backbench 1922 Committee

“I think we’ve got to calm down. This was a very bad result but it wasn’t unexpected and it does reflect what’s been going on in the last month or so. 

“We’ve had a series of self-inflicted own goals and what Boris Johnson needs to do is go away for Christmas, come back in the New Year and deal with these self-inflicted own goals and then start to deliver on the really big issues for the country that the electorate wants.

“How to deal with the backlog in the health service, pay down the debt, sort out social care and all these really big issues. 

“So this is not a morning where we want to be contemplating a big blame game, or a big change, we need to just work out what we need to do in the future.”

He added on Sky News: “I want him to succeed, I am giving him the benefit of the doubt, but in doing that as one of his seasoned backbenchers I am asking him to think carefully about how he governs this country and avoid these self-inflicted [lockdown] measures.”

Oliver Dowden

Conservative Party chairman

“Voters in North Shropshire were fed up and they gave us a kicking,” he told Sky News. “I think they wanted to send us a message and I want to say as chairman of the Conservative Party we’ve heard that loud and clear.”

“We need to get on with delivering the job and that’s precisely what we’re doing.”

David Gauke

Tory MP from 2005 until 2019 and a former Cabinet minister

“The North Shropshire defeat further weakens the Prime Minister and leaves him more vulnerable. But omicron means that an attempt to remove him in January is unlikely – and may even strengthen his position against his Covid rebels,” he said. 

Neil Shastri-Hurst

Defeated Tory parliamentary candidate in North Shropshire

Neil Shastri-Hurst spoke of his “disappointment” after his defeat to the Lib Dems.

“Clearly it was a disappointing result,” he said, but added that the Tories ran “a positive campaign” which he was “proud” of. He said the party would now “sit back and take stock”.

Pushed on whether he might have won the election if Mr Johnson had not been Prime Minister, he wouldn’t say, only reiterating that he was “proud” of the campaign.

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