Robert Jenrick was grilled by Victoria Derbyshire on the BBC
The Conservatives lost in Tamworth despite having a majority of nearly 20,000, while Keir Starmer’s party managed to overturn a 25,000 majority in Nadine Dorries’ former seat of Mid Bedfordshire.
But appearing on the BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg programme this morning, Jenrick, who is the immigration minister, insisted Rishi Sunak is “making good progress” on his promises to voters, which he said were in tune with people’s priorities.
Presenter Victoria Derbyshire replied: “It doesn’t seem to be having any effect though if you look at what happened in Tamworth and Mid Beds.
“In Tamworth Labour overturned a majority of almost 19,000, in Mid Beds a majority of 25,000.”
Jenrick said: “With all due respect I wouldn’t read too much into by-elections - governments tend to lose by-elections.”
But Derbyshire hit back: “They are massive majorities with double digit swings - are you in denial?”
The minister replied: “I think we all have to listen to what the voters are saying in those by-elections, but we also shouldn’t read too much into them.
“My sense is that the public are undecided, they’re certainly not sold on Keir Starmer.”
Derbyshire interrupted: “Labour just won those two by-elections.”
Jenrick said: “The key thing for us as a party right now is not to worry about party politics but to deliver on the public’s priorities.”
Derbyshire then asked Jenrick how worried he was about losing his own seat of Newark, where he has a majority of 21,816.
“It would be foolish to be complacent - we all need to work hard and be good constituency members of parliament every day,” he said.