Sleaze storm may have slashed Tory by-election majority, minister admits
Evening Standard|December 03, 2021
‘Of course people have concerns mid-term with any government...’
David Bond

ALLEGATIONS of sleaze may have hit the Conservatives’ performance in the Old Bexley and Sidcup by-election after the party’s majority was slashed with a 10 per cent swing to Labour, a Cabinet minister admitted today.

The by-election was the first big test for Boris Johnson after a chaotic period for the Government with the Prime Minister under fire over immigration, rising taxes and the cost of living as well as confusion over Covid restrictions in the face of the new Omicron variant.

Tory party chairman Oliver Dowden described the win for “homegrown”’ candidate Louie French as a “solid result” but acknowledged that the Owen Paterson lobbying affair combined with other recent criticisms played a part in reducing the Tory majority from almost 19,000 to 4,478.

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