The National:

Good evening! The UK Parliament returned from the conference season break this week and, by the end of it, the Tories had lost two of their MPs and gained another on their benches.

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Bowie in denial

The Tories suffered seismic by-election defeats in Tamworth and Mid Bedfordshire in England with some of the biggest swings recorded since the Second World War.

Labour overturned huge Conservative majorities in both areas, yet Tory minister Andrew Bowie was in complete denial the results pointed to failures by his party.

In an unbelievable assessment of an undoubtedly torrid night for the Tories, West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine MP Bowie insisted the defeats were “not gigantic” and blamed their plummet in fortunes on the low turnout of 35.87% in Tamworth and 44% in Mid Bedfordshire.

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He told Sky News: “What’s been quite clear on the doorsteps is that people do agree with our priorities, but they are reserving judgement when it comes to who they are going to vote for in the next General Election.

“They weren’t gigantic by-election defeats. There is no groundswell of support for the Labour Party. People are supportive of what we’re doing but they were just not prepared to come out and vote for us.”

This was all despite being faced with a graph that detailed just how massive the swing was in both these constituencies.

Alistair Strathern took Mid Bedfordshire with a majority of 1192 over his Tory rival Festus Akinbusoye, with a swing of 20.5 percentage points to Labour. This was a seat the Tories had held for 90 years.

In Tamworth, Labour’s Sarah Edwards defeated Tory Andrew Cooper by a majority of 1316 – the second-biggest swing since the Second World War.

Gaza 'gagging order'

The UK Government and the Labour opposition both faced fierce criticism this week for their approaches to the situation in Gaza.

Several Labour party officials have quit over the leadership’s “gagging order” on discussing the Middle East crisis.

Peter Duffy (below)  quit his role as the secretary of Glasgow Kelvin’s constituency Labour Party (CLP) on Thursday along with nine others. The branch had intended to debate a motion on Gaza at their monthly meeting that evening but within hours of circulating it, they received an email from Scottish Labour saying no branches were to discuss the situation.

The National:

Elsewhere, Humza Yousaf called out Foreign Secretary James Cleverly for failing to include helping UK nationals escape from the fighting in Gaza as a priority in his approach to the conflict there.

Cleverly said his objectives were to secure the release of British hostages, stop violence spreading to other parts of the Middle East and ensure emergency aid can get to Gaza.

Responding to the post with one of his own, Yousaf, whose Dundee-based in-laws are currently trapped in Gaza, urged Cleverly to call for a ceasefire and the opening of the Rafah Crossing in the south of the Gaza Strip.

He said: “Shameful that UK citizens trapped in Gaza don’t even get a mention.”

Cameron crosses floor

After defecting to the Tory Party last week, ex-SNP MP Lisa Cameron crossed the floor to join her new colleagues this week. She was spotted at PMQs flanked by the former prime minister, Theresa May, and Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross.

On BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour, she said she no longer believed in separation from the UK.

She said: “I feel absolutely exhausted by nationalism.

“I feel like Scotland’s exhausted by nationalism and all of our services are exhausted now. It’s become very divisive.”