Boris Johnson described his party’s defeat in the Chesham and Amersham by-election as “disappointing” - and appeared to blame a public misunderstanding of Tory reforms to planning rules.
The Lib Dems overturned a huge Tory majority to score an historic win, with Sarah Green wining by 8,000 votes in a seat which had been a safe Conservative stronghold since its creation but has seen growing opposition to the HS2 high speed railway line and plans for large-scale housing developments in the region.
Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey said the result showed that the “blue wall” of Tory seats in the south could be demolished. One former Tory minister said it showed that some voters in the south considered Boris Johnson to be a “charlatan”. Mr Johnson responded by saying the criticism was “bizarre” and “peculiar”.
It also emerged that Mr Johnson is set to strip the Electoral Commission of the power to prosecute law-breaking – just weeks after it launched an investigation into his controversial flat refurb.
Meanwhile, the DUP began looking for another new leader after the short tenure of Edwin Poots – forced out last night after only 20 days in charge of the party.
His resignation came after an angry party revolt against his decision to agree a deal with Sinn Fein and nominate a new first minister – leaving power-sharing arrangements at Stormont in disarray.
Follow the updates below