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Byelection defeats cast pall over Boris Johnson’s pitch that he is an election winner

Analysis: dire results in Wakefield and Tiverton and Honiton make it more likely the prime minister will face a renewed challenge

Helen Hurford, the Tory candidate in Tiverton and Honiton, reportedly reacted to her humiliating byelection defeat by locking herself in a room and refusing to speak to the media. About 4,000 miles away in Kigali, Boris Johnson could be forgiven for wanting to do exactly the same.

Thursday’s double byelection loss, taking in defeat to Labour in Wakefield, and a particularly astonishing capitulation against the Lib Dems in Tiverton and Honiton, is likely to prompt similar feelings of anguish among Conservative MPs.

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