Tories humiliated in North Shropshire after Liberal Democrats win safe seat
Another headache for Boris Johnson, after "true blue" constituency chooses Lib Dem
The Prime Minister has overseen an astonishing defeat in North Shropshire, after Liberal Democrat Helen Morgan stormed to victory in the "true blue" seat.
Morgan polled 17,957 votes, ahead of Tory candidate Neil Shastri-Hurst on 12,032.
Labour's Ben Wood was third with 3,686 votes.
In her victory speech, Morgan said: "Tonight, the people of North Shropshire have spoken on behalf of the British people.
"They have said loudly and clearly, 'Boris Johnson, the party is over'
"Your Government, run on lies and bluster, will be held accountable. It will be scrutinised, it will be challenged and it can and will be defeated.
"Across the country the Liberal Democrats are taking on the Conservatives and winning."
The result is expected to mount pressure onto the Prime Minister, who on Thursday was facing threats that dozens of letters of no confidence would be sent to the chair of the Conservative 1922 committee, if the 23,000 majority was overturned.
The seat was vacated by Tory Owen Paterson, who had served as North Shropshire's MP for 24 years, before resigning over sleaze allegations last month.
Conservative candidate Neil Shastri-Hurst, a barrister and former British Army medical officer, had been hoping to retain the constituency for the Tories. He described the result as "disappointing".
Weeks of sleaze scandals and allegations of potentially illegal Christmas parties saw the Prime Minister plummet in national opinion polling. As late as Sunday, Tory Ministers were pleading with constituents in North Shropshire not to treat the by-election as a "protest vote".
Helen Morgan, a pro-remain Liberal Democrat, has taken North Shropshire - an area that voted overwhelmingly to leave the European Union in 2016. It was rumoured Morgan's anti-brexit stance could have had an impact at the polls.
Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey said: "This result is a watershed moment in our politics and offers hope to people around the country that a brighter future is possible.
"Millions of people are fed up with Boris Johnson and his failure to provide leadership throughout the pandemic and last night the voters of North Shropshire spoke for all of them."
Leader Ed Davey was unable to attend the count, having tested positive for Coronavirus on Tuesday.