British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party won a by-election Friday in what was seen as a crucial test of the governing party.
With the gap between the Conservatives and main opposition Labour Party narrowing in the wake of sleaze allegations, all eyes were focused on a by-election in suburban London’s parliamentary seat of Old Bexley and Sidcup.
Local councillor Louie French became the constituency’s new Member of Parliament (MP), succeeding former government minister James Brokenshire, who died of cancer in October aged 53.
French won the by-election with 11,189 votes, with Labour’s Daniel Francis coming second with 6,711 votes. French won 51.5 percent of the votes, compared to the 64.5 percent won by the Conservatives in 2019.
In the 2019 general election, Brokenshire held onto the seat with a majority of almost 19,000, in what was double the number of people who voted compared to Thursday’s by-election.
The Guardian newspaper commented that although the south London constituency has been Conservative since 1950, the result will help calm jitters within the party about Johnson’s leadership.
The seat was once held by one of Britain’s most famous prime ministers, Conservative Edward Heath who in 1973 led Britain into membership of the European Union, then called the European Economic Community (EEC).