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Map shows every constituency the Tories have lost since 2019

After losing two more by-elections to Labour, the Conservatives have now suffered the most by-election defeats of any government since the 1960s.

Rishi Sunak on Friday morning, following the two by-election defeats. (PA)
Rishi Sunak on Friday morning, following the two by-election defeats. (PA)

The Conservatives have lost two more by-elections to Labour.

In a dire night for Rishi Sunak, Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour overturned majorities of 18,540 in Wellingborough and 11,220 in Kingswood to inflict the government’s ninth and 10th by-election defeats of the current Parliament.

Gen Kitchen secured Wellingborough with 45.8% of the vote, while Damien Egan won Kingswood with 44.9% of the vote.

Sunak, who is set to call a general election later this year, attempted to play down the defeats on Friday, saying “midterm elections are always difficult for incumbent governments” and citing low turnout, of just under 40%, in both constituencies.

Starmer, on the other hand, claimed it showed people are “crying out for change”.

The defeats mean the Tories have suffered the most by-election defeats of any government since the 1960s. The following map demonstrates the scale of losses since the party won the 2019 general election.

Recommended reading

Here, Yahoo News UK breaks down the previous by-elections the Tories have lost (and won) since 2019.

Hartlepool, May 2021: Conservative gain from Labour

It feels a long time ago now, but this by-election came when Boris Johnson's Tories were flying high in the polls: 43% to Labour's 33% (today, YouGov has Labour polling at 44% and the Tories on 22%).

The party's relative popularity, pre-Partygate scandal and the disastrous "mini budget", came as the country was coming out of lockdown following the successful COVID vaccine rollout. It led to a by-election rarity: a government winning an opposition seat.

It had been Labour-held since it was formed in 1974, with the defeat described as “absolutely shattering” for Starmer. The by-election was called after Labour’s Mike Hill stepped down over sexual harassment claims.

By-election swings where seat has changed hands since 2019 general election.
By-election swings where seat has changed hands since 2019 general election.
HARTLEPOOL, ENGLAND - MAY 07: Prime Minister Boris Johnson visits Hartlepool after the Conservative Party candidate Jill Mortimer (not pictured) won the Hartlepool Parliamentary By-election, at the National Museum of the Royal Navy, Hartlepool Marina on May 07, 2021 in Hartlepool, England. Conservative candidate Jill Mortimer won the Hartlepool by-election with 51.9% of the vote, Labour came second with 28.7%. (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)
An inflatable Boris Johnson with the then-prime minister himself following the Hartlepool by-election victory. (Getty Images)

Chesham and Amersham, June 2021: Conservative loss to Liberal Democrats

The Tories' first defeat of the current Parliament happened in Buckinghamshire in a by-election triggered by the death of sitting MP Dame Cheryl Gillan.

In a campaign characterised by constituency-specific issues such as HS2 and planning reforms, the Lib Dems overturned her 16,223 majority to win the seat with a huge 25% swing.

Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey during a victory rally at Chesham Youth Centre in Chesham, Buckinghamshire, after Sarah Green won the Chesham and Amersham by-election. Picture date: Friday June 18, 2021. (Photo by Steve Parsons/PA Images via Getty Images)
Lib Dem leader Ed Davey celebrates the Chesham and Amersham victory by using a yellow hammer to demolish a 'blue wall' of model bricks. (PA Images via Getty Images)

Old Bexley and Sidcup, December 2021: Conservative hold

The Conservatives held this London seat in a by-election triggered by the death of MP James Brokenshire.

North Shropshire, December 2021: Conservative loss to Liberal Democrats

In a by-election prompted by the resignation of Tory MP Owen Paterson after he breached House of Commons rules by engaging in paid lobbying, the Liberal Democrats achieved another stunning result: overturning a majority of 22,949 with an even bigger swing of 34%.

It remains the second largest by-election swing against any government since the Second World War.

Southend West, February 2022: Conservative hold

The Tories held this Essex seat in a contest triggered by the murder of MP David Amess.

Wakefield, June 2022: Conservative loss to Labour

Labour took the west Yorkshire seat, overturning a majority of 3,358, in the party’s first by-election gain from the Conservatives in 10 years.

The contest had been triggered by the resignation of sitting MP Imran Ahmad Khan following a criminal conviction for child sexual assault.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer meets with new Wakefield MP Simon Lightwood (right), as the party reclaimed the West Yorkshire seat from the Conservatives in the Wakefield by-election, which was triggered after Conservative MP Imran Ahmad Khan resigned earlier this year following his conviction for sexually assaulting a teenage boy. Picture date: Friday June 24, 2022. (Photo by Danny Lawson/PA Images via Getty Images)
Sir Keir Starmer celebrates the Wakefield victory with new MP Simon Lightwood. (PA Images via Getty Images)

Tiverton and Honiton, June 2022: Conservative loss to Liberal Democrats

On the same day as the Wakefield by-election, the Tories were defending a huge majority of 24,239... which the Liberal Democrats overturned with another enormous swing of 30%.

The by-election was prompted by the resignation of sitting MP Neil Parish after he admitted watching pornography on his phone in the House of Commons.

Uxbridge and South Ruislip, July 2023: Conservative hold

In a contest triggered by the resignation of sitting MP and former prime minister Boris Johnson, the Tory hold was considered a missed opportunity for Labour with the Tories flailing in the polls under Sunak.

Both parties suggested the expansion of London’s ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ), which levies a charge on vehicles that do not meet certain emissions standards and is a key policy of Labour mayor Sadiq Khan, may have contributed to the result.

Selby and Ainsty, July 2023: Conservative loss to Labour

This by-election in north Yorkshire was triggered by Tory MP Nigel Adams resigning to pursue a private sector career. Adams had a big majority of 20,137, but Labour, whose popularity had surged since the disastrous administration of Liz Truss, won the seat on a huge 24% swing.

At 25 years old, winning candidate Keir Mather became the youngest MP in the House of Commons.

Newly-elected Labour MP Keir Mather waits for leader Sir Keir Starmer at Selby Town Football Club after the by-election. (PA)
Newly-elected Labour MP Keir Mather waits for leader Sir Keir Starmer at Selby Town Football Club after the by-election. (PA)

Somerton and Frome, July 2023: Conservative loss to Liberal Democrats

Another big gain for the Liberal Democrats on a 29% swing, overturning a majority of 19,213.

The contest was triggered by the resignation of sitting MP David Warburton, after an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment and cocaine use.

Mid Bedfordshire, October 2023: Conservative loss to Labour

This defeat remains the largest numerical Conservative majority (24,664) to be overturned by Labour at a by-election since 1945.

The by-election had been triggered by the resignation of sitting MP Nadine Dorries.

Tamworth, October 2023: Conservative loss to Labour

Another Labour victory, this one in Staffordshire, saw a 24% swing: large enough to currently rank as the third biggest swing from Conservative to Labour at a by-election since 1945.

This was yet another contest prompted by the resignation of the sitting MP, in this case Chris Pincher, who had won a majority of 19,634 in 2019. He stood down after a Commons inquiry upheld allegations of sexual assault.

Wellingborough, February 2024, Conservative loss to Labour

Labour took the Northamptonshire seat on an enormous swing of 29%: the second biggest from Tory to Labour at a by-election since the Second World War.

The Conservatives’ share of the vote slumped from 62% at the 2019 general election to just 25%, also the largest drop recorded by the Tories at any by-election since 1945.

It was triggered by the six-week Commons suspension of former Tory MP Peter Bone after an inquiry found he had subjected a staff member to bullying and sexual misconduct.

Gen Kitchen said she cut short her honeymoon to begin campaigning for the by-election. (PA)
Gen Kitchen, the new Labour MP for Wellingborough, said she cut short her honeymoon to begin campaigning for the by-election. (PA)

Kingswood, February 2024, Conservative loss to Labour

Labour overturned a majority of 11,220 to win this Gloucestershire seat, achieving a swing of 16%: lower than some of the huge swings it enjoyed in previous by-elections, but comfortably above the 11% it needed.

The vote came after former Conservative MP Chris Skidmore resigned in protest at government legislation to boost North Sea oil and gas drilling.