Tiverton and Honiton by-election: Who are the candidates and what the results could mean for the Tories

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Mr Parish said he first visited the website accidentally after looking at tractors online, but then came back to it deliberately a second time in a ‘moment of madness’.

After telling The Telegraph’s Chopper’s Politics podcast last month that he could run as an independent, he has since decided not to run on June 23.

What happened last time?

In the 2019 general election, in which Mr Johnson’s party won a landslide victory, there was a 3.3 per cent swing to the Conservatives.

The Conservatives won 60.2% of the vote (35,893 votes), followed by Labor with 19.5% (11,654) and the Liberal Democrats with 14.8% (8,807).

Voters in Tiverton and Honiton supported Brexit in June 2016, with 57.82% voting for Leave against 42.18% for Remain.

Who are the candidates?

Listed by last name (in alphabetical order), the candidates are as follows:

  • Jordan Donoghue-Morgan, Heritage
  • Andy Foan, Reform UK
  • Richard Foodd, Liberal Democrats
  • Helen Hurford, curator
  • Liz Pole, Work
  • Frankie Rufolo, for Great Britain
  • Ben Walker, Ukip
  • Gill Westcott, Green Party
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The Liberal Democrats, who are aiming to win in Tiverton and Honiton despite finishing third in 2019, have chosen Richard Foord, a Sandhurst-educated former army major, as their by-election candidate.

After drawing up an all-female shortlist, the Tories nominated Helen Hurford, a former headteacher. Speaking to Radio Exe, she said she now supports Mr Johnson, but declined to reveal how she would have voted in the June 6 confidence vote, had she been an MP.

Labor is fielding Liz Pole, who was also the party’s candidate in 2019 when the Conservatives lost 7.6% of their vote share from the 2017 poll amid declining national fortunes for the party.

Is there a Labour-Lib Dem “electoral pact”?

There has been speculation of a ‘compact’ between Labor and the Liberal Democrats as the by-election will be held on the same day as another in Wakefield, which Labor believes has a better chance of winning.

Labor has ordered its MPs not to travel to Tiverton and Honiton to campaign to give the Liberal Democrats a better chance of victory, Politics Home reported last month.

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A Labor spokesman insisted they would ‘fight for every vote’ in the constituency, and Sir Keir Starmer’s party and the Liberal Democrats flatly denied having reached such an agreement.

Oliver Dowden, the chairman of the Conservative Party, has accused the two parties of defending themselves in May’s local elections in order to boost leftist and liberal voting across the country.

How could a pact affect the outcome?

Working together against the Tories gives the Liberal Democrats and Labor a 20 point boost on Election Day, according to a Telegraph analysis.

In local elections last month, Labor gave the Liberal Democrats a clear 49-seat race in the South West. The Liberal Democrats secured an average vote share of 51% in those seats, compared to a 29% vote share in seats in the same region where Labor ran.

Similarly, in seats where the Liberal Democrats withdrew, Labor won an average vote share of 46%, compared to a 26% vote share where all major parties ran.

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The Conservatives fielded at least one candidate in each ward.

What could the result of the by-election mean?

The result of the by-election will be announced in the early hours of June 24.

The Tories are battling the election defending their delivery record for the region, the Liberal Democrats focused on agriculture and government tax hikes, and Labor focused on the cost of living crisis .

If the Tories can retain Tiverton and Honiton it will quell jitters over Mr Johnson’s leadership among his MPs in the Heartlands after surviving a confidence vote earlier this month, albeit with a larger rebellion than intended.

But if they suffer their first defeat in the constituency, it will be questionable whether Mr Johnson’s brand is damaged beyond repair, as well as the direction of his government’s policies on taxation, the cost-of-living crisis and clean rivers.

Last year the Liberal Democrats secured two surprise by-election victories in traditionally secure Tory seats as they triumphed in both North Shropshire and Chesham and Amersham.

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