THE LibDems have overcome a massive Tory majority in North Shropshire to win the by-election and pile pressure on Boris Johnson.

In one of the most comprehensive by-election defeats in recent decades, the Conservatives lost what was an ultra-safe seat to LibDem Helen Morgan by 5925 votes.

The Prime Minister’s authority was dealt another blow with the swing to the LibDems a massive 34% in the ballot triggered by the resignation of Owen Paterson.

The former minister had a near-23,000 majority in the West Midlands constituency in the 2019 General Election when Johnson achieved a landslide, but support evaporated as the Tories battle damning allegations on multiple fronts.

The National: Owen Paterson stepped down from his seat after attempts were made by the Tories to stop him from being suspended over a lobbying scandalOwen Paterson stepped down from his seat after attempts were made by the Tories to stop him from being suspended over a lobbying scandal

Not only was the vote triggered by the sleaze scandal centred on Paterson, but it also came after the beleaguered Prime Minister has been battered by claims of lockdown-breaching parties in Downing Street.

And the defeat will cap a torrid week that included the massive rebellion Conservative backbenchers dealt Mr Johnson on Tuesday over his new coronavirus restrictions as the Omicron variant surged.

Morgan won 17,957 votes, trouncing Tory candidate Neil Shastri-Hurst (below) into second on 12,032.

“Tonight, the people of North Shropshire have spoken on behalf of the British people. They have said loudly and clearly, ‘Boris Johnson, the party is over’,” Morgan said in her victory speech.

“Your Government, run on lies and bluster, will be held accountable. It will be scrutinised, it will be challenged and it can and will be defeated.”

The National:

North Shropshire had returned a Tory MP in every vote since 1983, which was the constituency’s first election in its current form.

But the Brexit-backing area has voted Tory in every vote since the Conservative Party’s inception in 1830.

Conservative Party chairman Oliver Dowden said the voters in the North Shropshire by-election had given the Tories “a kicking”.

He told Sky News: “Voters in North Shropshire were fed up and they gave us a kicking. I think they wanted to send us a message and I want to say as chairman of the Conservative Party we’ve heard that loud and clear.

“We need to get on with delivering the job and that’s precisely what we’re doing.”

Paterson represented the constituency for 24 years until his resignation after the Prime Minister’s botched attempt to shield him from a 30-day suspension.

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Johnson attempted to force a Tory-led review of the rules for MPs after Paterson was found to have breached lobbying rules for two companies paying him £100,000 a year.

Multiple fresh allegations of sleaze were levelled at the Tories during the row and ultimately the MP was forced to resign.

In 2019, the Tories won 62.7% of the vote and held the seat with a majority of 22,949 over Labour.

Morgan came third with just 10% of the vote when facing Paterson in the General Election.

The National:

Thursday’s defeat compounds a tumultuous period for Johnson after 100 Tories defied the leadership to vote against the introduction of mandatory Covid health passes for entry to large venues – the biggest rebellion since he entered No 10.

Asked on Wednesday if Johnson would quit if North Shropshire falls, the Prime Minister’s press secretary said: “We are fighting for every vote.”

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The 34% swing to the LibDems was the fourth largest in a by-election in the last 30 years and even bigger than in the party’s first seizure of a former Tory stronghold since the General Election.

Chesham and Amersham had been a Tory stronghold since the constituency’s creation in 1974, but the Lib Dems took it with a 25% swing from the Tories in July.

Morgan, a 46-year-old accountant who lives in the Shropshire village of Harmer Hill, will become the newest MP having beaten Shastri-Hurst, a barrister based in Birmingham.