Two by-elections in Britain in October will test how Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Conservatives win in key areas and whether opposition Labor can regain support in Scotland.
With Labor ahead in the polls, the vote is seen as a key electoral test for the two main parties ahead of next year’s national election and will determine replacements for two MPs who have given up their mandate.
On October 19, Sunak’s Conservatives will try to retain control of the seat of Mid-Bedfordshire in southeast England, left open by the exit of Nadine Dorries, who criticized Sunak’s leadership when she formally resigned last month.
Dorries, an ally of former prime minister Boris Johnson, announced her resignation in June but postponed her resignation. Johnson, who also resigned as an MP, and two Conservative MPs have already been voted in to replace him.
In those July elections, Sunak’s Conservatives lost two strategically important parliamentary seats, but unexpectedly retained Johnson’s old constituency, causing a setback for Labour.
Another by-election is due in October to replace a Scottish National Party (SNP) MP who was expelled from the party by voters for flouting Covid lockdown rules.
Margaret Ferrier represented Rutherglen and Hamilton West outside Glasgow and will replace her on October 5. The final decision on the date is pending the approval of the local council.
The by-election will show whether Labor can win back in Scotland, where it needs to regain its previous dominance if it is to return to power.
The dates for two votes to replace outgoing lawmakers were announced on Monday, the first day since the summer parliamentary break.
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