In two significant by-election losses, Labour overturned large majorities to win the parliamentary seats of Mid Bedfordshire and Tamworth, serving the Conservatives massive losses.
While Boris Johnson won their support and trust in 2019, Rishi Sunak has failed to keep it.
In Mid Bedfordshire, the party defeated a challenge from the Liberal Democrats and overcame a 24,664 Tory majority to gain the seat for the first time.
A 23.9% swing from the Tories to Labour occurred in Tamworth.
Leader Sir Keir Starmer said that the by-election victories demonstrated that Labour was “redrawing the political map”.
“Winning in these Tory strongholds shows that people overwhelmingly want change and they’re ready to put their faith in our changed Labour Party to deliver it,” he stated.
The by-election results have given Labour a boost ahead of the anticipated general election next year, with the Tories are also lagging in the national polls.
Addressing the news, Conservative Party chairman Greg Hands said that it was disappointing to lose both by-elections, but “the biggest problem was previous Conservative voters staying at home”, adding that the turnouts were very low.
“It was principally a problem we need to find better ways to energise our Conservative voters to come out and support the government.”
There was a lot of fury about the background to the by-elections, he said – but added: “It is right that a number of our voters are unhappy with the government, we clearly have a job to do to win them back into our column.”
Meanwhile, Labour’s campaign co-ordinator Pat McFadden said it was a “really fantastic night” for his party, “against all the odds” because both seats were previously considered safe for the Conservatives.
But, he added, the party can not afford to rest on its laurels, because there is “still a great deal to do” after Labour’s “very bad” election defeat in 2019.
McFadden said that trust is “such a precious and fragile thing” and there is still a long way to go for Labour to win the next election.
In Flitwick in Bedfordshire constituents told the BBC that they are shocked to see Labour take the Mid Bedfordshire seat.
John, 57, a cable engineer, said that “being a Conservative area it is quite a shock”.
He told the BBC that based on conversations he’s had and what he has read he thought the Liberal Democrats might take the seat instead – but on Labour’s win said “it’s like Tesco and everyone changing to Aldi, we’ll just have to wait and see.”
Meanwhile Delia Clegg, also 57, said “it’s about time we had a change around here”.