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Nowhere to run

What is the point of Boris Johnson? What is he for? That’s the question that a lot of Tory MPs are asking themselves today - as the results in Tiverton & Honiton and Wakefield sink in.

It’s not just that the Conservatives have lost two seats. That happens to governments in by-elections. It is to be expected. It is the emblematic nature of the seats that have been lost that matters. Wakefield is precisely the sort of Northern, ex-Labour, pro-Brexit place that delivered for the Tories their biggest majority in a generation. Tiverton & Honiton is precisely the sort of affluent, rural, well-healed place upon which the Conservatives have long been able to depend; it even returned a Tory in 1997. Both sides of the Tory electoral coalition are crumbling. So, what is the point of Boris Johnson?

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