Prime Minister Boris Johnson has insisted he is not going to undergo any “psychological transformation” as pressure piles on his leadership following the Tories’ double by-election defeat.
On a bruising night for the party, the Liberal Democrats overturned a huge Tory majority in Tiverton and Honiton in Devon on Friday.
Labour reclaimed Wakefield in West Yorkshire, having lost the seat back in 2019.
In the wake of the results, Oliver Dowden quit as chairman of the Conservative Party as he told Johnson in his resignation letter that “we cannot carry on with business as usual”.
It follows the slump in the local elections for the Conservatives back in May this year.
Johnson said he must “humbly and sincerely” accept any criticism he receives in his job, but argued every Government gets “buffeted” by bad by-election results mid-term.
He said his role is to look at exactly what happened and “think which criticisms really matter”.
Asked about Dowden’s resignation while saying business could not continue as usual, Johnson told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “If you’re saying you want me to undergo some sort of psychological transformation, I think that our listeners would know that is not going to happen.
“What you can do, and what the Government should do, and what I want to do, is to get on with changing and reforming and improving our systems and our economy.”
Johnson claimed voters are tired of hearing about what “I’m alleged to have done wrong” in reference to the partygate scandal which saw him and dozens of others in Downing Street fined for breaking Covid restrictions.
On what lessons he will take from the by-election results, he said: “I draw the conclusion the voters are heartily sick of hearing about me and the things I’m alleged to have done wrong.
“What they want to hear is what we’re doing for them. And what I’m setting out for you, or trying to set out, is the ambitions we have (for) the country.”
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