Northern Ireland secretary Brandon Lewis has said Boris Johnson is still the “right person to lead” the Tories into the next election, despite two heavy by-election defeats on Thursday.
Lewis said that the Wakefield and Tiverton and Honiton by-elections were always going to be “difficult” and insisted the Prime Minister can still be an election winner.
The result in Tiverton and Honiton, a mid-Devon constituency, was particularly bad for the Conservatives.
The party held a 24,000-vote majority in the traditional Tory stronghold, before the Lib Dems overturned it on Thursday in a 29.9 per cent swing.
The Yorkshire constituency of Wakefield was lost to Labour, after the Tories won it for the first time in almost 100 years at the 2019 election.
Johnson’s approval ratings are at their lowest ebb and the party is consistently trailing Labour in opinion polling.
Speaking to Sky News, Lewis said: “I think Boris Johnson is the right person to lead us into the next general election, I think he’ll do that successfully.
“I was also clear a few weeks ago that those by-elections were going to be difficult by-elections.
“We ‘ve got to make sure we are not just learning from the results, of course. What we saw is a lot of people who previously voted Conservative stayed home. We’ve got to make sure by the next General Election we’re motivating those people to come out and vote for us.
“I do think Boris Johnson is the person to do that.”