Brexit: Tory minister mocks Macron for calling Boris a clown
The Tories held onto the seat but the huge 10 percent swing to Labour was well above the six percent recorded on average by national opinion polls, and also the biggest swing in a by-election for Sir Keir Starmer's party in seven years. Polling expert Sir John Curtice said the swing was more down to a 13 point fall in support for the Tories than the seven point increase in Labour's tally - Sir Keir's party had improved by more in nearly a dozen by-elections over the past decade, but still lost the next general election.
The polling expert warned the biggest concern for the Prime Minister is the wins gained by the Reform Party, the successor to the Brexit Party, which won seven per cent of the vote in the by-election.
Sir John explained in an article for The Times: "The foundation of Boris Johnson’s victory in 2019 was uniting most of the Leave vote behind him, a success that was assisted by Nigel Farage’s decision not to contest Conservative-held seats.
"In contrast the Remain vote was fragmented between Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the nationalist parties. The Conservatives cannot afford for the Leave vote to become fragmented.
"Small parties such as Reform UK are better able to enjoy success in by-elections than in a general election. The party is also relatively unknown to many voters. Johnson has to hope it remains that way."
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Brexit LIVE: Boris Johnson has been sent a huge warnings after a new polling horror show
Brexiteers say PM stalling on triggering Article 16 - Lord Frost ready to act
Brexiteer MPs believe Boris Johnson is standing in the way of Lord Frost triggering Article 16.
The Prime Minister has been accused of continuing talks with the EU on the Northern Ireland Protocol - despite little progress being made.
MPs now believe Lord Frost is eager to start the legal process for suspending aspects of the international treaty but is being stopped from doing so by Downing Street.
The Brexit minister said talks with the EU will continue while there is still the hope of progress, and some Brexiteers believe there is no chance of Article 16 being used until at least January next year.
One MP told Express.co.uk: "I know Lord Frost wants to trigger Article 16.
"He feels it's time. But Downing Street want to keep talking."
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EU red tape risks crippling small firms - urgent warning issued
European Union red tape at risk of crippling small firms throughout the UK as a major issue for importers approaches.
The latest research from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has warned most small UK importers who will feel the impact of new customs checks are not yet fully prepared for their introduction on January 1.
Full customs declaration for EU goods can be deferred at the point of arrival.
But this changes in four weeks' time, when paperwork will have to be handled upfront, and notice of food, drink and products of animal origin imports given in advance.
Brexit LIVE: EU red tape risks crippling small firms - urgent warning issued