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By-election 2023: Polls open as Tories brace for three losses with Boris Johnson's former seat up for grabs | The Sun

POLLS have opened for three by-elections across England with Rishi Sunak facing a major test of his popularity.

The Tories are bracing for three brutal losses, though final results won't trickle through until the early hours of Friday morning.

Up for grabs are Boris Johnson's old seat of Uxbridge and South Ruislip in west London, Selby and Ainsty in North Yorkshire, and Somerton and Frome in Somerset.

Amid a crippling rail strike, Labour is hoping to pull off major upsets in Selby and Uxbridge, while the Lib Dems are vying to win the South West.

Lib Dem chief Sir Ed Davey today said: "If the Liberal Democrats succeed in overturning this massive 19,000 Conservative majority, it will show voters in Somerset are fed up with being taken for granted by Rishi Sunak and his failing government."

Sir Keir Starmer said: "Today, voters in Uxbridge, Selby and Somerton and Frome have a chance to vote for change by voting Labour.

"We can build a better Britain."

Polling suggests the Tories are on course to lose all three of what were historically quite safe seats.


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However, there's some hope of holding onto Uxbridge, where resentment over Sadiq Khan's ULEZ expansion is strong.

Steve Tuckwell, the Tory candidate gunning to succeed Boris, said: "Your vote is your chance to put local priorites first.

"Ensuring we stop Sadiq Khan’s plans to expand ULEZ into Hillingdon is vital, and we need to send him a clear message. A vote for me is a vote to stop ULEZ."

Last night at a meeting of the 1922 Committee the PM urged his party to band together regardless of today's results.

He promised that when MPs return from the summer recess break in September he'll lay out a new and inspiring agenda to ready the party for next year's general election.

"In the coming months, I am going to set out more of what I would do if I had a full term," Mr Sunak said.

"When we come back in September we have a choice to make, all of us. Do we come together and throw everything at winning the next election or not?

"I've made my choice, I'm all in with you to win.

"I promise you we can do this but we can only do it together as one team."

As the by-elections take place, in No10 Mr Sunak will be busy deciding when to push the button on a cabinet reshuffle.

Yesterday he refused to say if that would come this week.

“You would never expect me to comment on things like that," the PM told reporters.

“What I'm determined to do is just deliver on the priorities that I set out for the country – halve inflation, grow the economy, reduce debt, cut waiting lists and stop the boats.”

But Foreign Secretary James Cleverly told a forum in Aspen, US, he was directly addressing the PM by saying he wanted to “stay put”.

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The PM's press secretary acknowledged it would be tough for the Tories to hold the three seats tomorrow.

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She said: "By-elections, for incumbent governments, are very difficult, that is the nature of them.

"The election that the Conservative Party is most focused on is the general election."

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