John Curtice warns by-election results ‘extremely bad news’ for Sunak’s Tories

The by-election results in Mid Bedfordshire and Tamworth are “extremely bad news” for Rishi Sunak’s Conservatives.

In Thursday’s crucial votes, Labour reversed big Tory majorities to win both seats.

According to Professor Sir John Curtice, unless the Conservatives can “fairly dramatically and fairly radically turn things around,” they will “face defeat” in next year’s general election.

“The truth is two by-election results, both of which are extremely bad news for the Conservatives,” Prof Curtice told the BBC.

“Now in whatever criteria you use, they’re up there very clearly in the top 10 of worst Conservative performances against the Labour Party.

“And we’ve now had three by-elections with swings of 20 percent of more to the Labour Party. The last time we had that was the 1992-1997 Parliament.

“It is 12 months to go, this isn’t destiny, but it is a pointer and it is a pointer that, unless the Conservatives can fairly dramatically and fairly radically turn things around, then they are in truth staring defeat in the face in 12 months’ time.”

The polling expert said the Tories risk voters switch to Labour on the left and Reform UK on the right.

Reform, which is led by Richard Tice, secured 1,487 votes in Mid Bedfordshire and 1,373 in Tamworth, both more than Labour’s majority over the Conservatives.

Prof Curtice said the Tories “may get caught in a pincer movement between some of their former Leave voters wandering off to Labour but others going off to Reform UK”.

The by-election results were announced within half an hour of each other in the early hours of this morning.

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