Who won the Tiverton by-election 2022? The results explained as Richard Foord is elected

Boris Johnson has attempted to play-down the result, saying that governments tend to lose ‘mid-term’ by-elections

The Liberal Democrats have pulled off a historic by-election victory over the Conservatives in the South-West constituency of Tiverton and Honiton.

Former Army Major Richard Foord was elected with more than 50% of the vote, overturning a Conservative majority of almost 25,000 in the process.

What were the results of the by-election?

Despite Tiverton and Honiton being one of the safest Conservative seats in the country, the Liberal Democrats were able to capitalise on the difficulties Boris Johnson’s government is currently facing to win the contest.

The victory may also have come about as a result of an unofficial electoral pact between the Liberal Democrats and Labour.

Despite coming second in Tiverton and Honiton in the 2019 general election, Labour reportedly agreed to stand aside there this time around to allow the Liberal Democrats the best chance at winning.

Speaking in Tiverton after the result, Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey said: “To all those people making difficult choices today, just to get by, who fear what the next day’s bills might bring, let me say this.

“I know it might not always feel like it, but there can be a better tomorrow – the people of Tiverton and Honiton have shown that change can happen.”

Sir Ed continued: “We can build a country where you get a fair deal.

“A country where people who’ve worked hard all their lives are looked after in old age, a country where families can live free from fear of higher bills and higher taxes.

“A country where our leaders stand for what is right and what is decent.

“Today we have shown that the rule of Boris Johnson and his uncaring Conservative government can end.”

Here are the full results from the by-election:

  • Liberal Democrats: Richard Foord - 22,537 / 52.9% / +38.1
  • Conservative: Helen Hurford - 16,393 / 38.5% / -21.7
  • Labour: Liz Pole - 1,562 / 3.7% / -15.8
  • Green: Gill Westcott - 1,064 / 2.5% / -1.3
  • Reform UK: Andy Foan - 481 / 1.1%
  • UKIP: Ben Walker - 241 / 0.6% / -1.0
  • Heritage: Jordan Donoghue-Morgan - 167 / 0.4%
  • For Britain: Frankie Rufolo - 146 / 0.3%
  • Turnout: 42,707 / 52.3% / -19.6

What does the defeat mean for the Conservatives?

With 324 Tory MPs elected in 2019 with smaller majorities than in the Tiverton and Honiton constituency, MPs including Conservative grandee Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown expressed their concerns that they could lose their seats at the next general election.

The Prime Minister, who is currently in Rwanda, spoke to Chancellor Rishi Sunak by phone for his daily meeting after receiving a warning call from Conservative Party chair Oliver Dowden following an early-morning swim at his hotel.

Mr Dowden, a strong supporter of the Prime Minister who was among the first to back his campaign for the leadership, resigned as party chair following the result.

Speaking to broadcasters, Mr Johnson said he would take responsibility, but insisted the cost-of-living crisis is the most important issue for voters and it is “true that, in mid-term, governments post-war lose by-elections”.

He said: “It’s absolutely true we’ve had some tough by-election results. They’ve been, I think, a reflection of a lot of things, but we’ve got to recognise voters are going through a tough time at the moment.

“I think, as a Government, I’ve got to listen to what people are saying – in particular to the difficulties people are facing over the cost of living, which, I think, for most people is the number one issue.

“We’ve got to recognise there is more we’ve got to do and we certainly will – we will keep going, addressing the concerns of people until we get through this patch.”

In an interview with Channel 4 News, Mr Johnson added: “I, of course, take responsibility for the electoral performance of the Government.”

The former Conservative MP for the constituency, Neil Parish, who resigned after it came to light that he had watched pornogrpahy on two occasions in parliament, has spoken out about the result.

Speaking to BBC Radio Devon, Mr Parish said it is becoming “increasingly necessary” for Conservative MPs to “consider what is the long-term position of the Prime Minister”.

He said: “The public are concerned. The people in Tiverton and Honiton have spoken and they’ve spoken loudly”.

“What we can’t do is ignore people. It is for the Prime Minister to look at this very seriously.

“The time for blustering I’m afraid is over, we’ve got to really face reality now.”

“You can try and run a very good local campaign but we have a presidential-style of party politics in this country more than ever now, and of course it is the leader of your party and their reputation that is up for trial, especially in a by-election.