BBC presenter Victoria Derbyshire was left in disbelief at a claim made by Tory minister Robert Jenrick.

The minister for immigration was asked on the Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg show if he was in “denial” after he said he wouldn’t “read too much” into his party’s recent by-election losses.

It comes after Labour overturned Tory majorities in both Mid Bedfordshire and Tamworth earlier this week.

The former saw the biggest-ever Tory majority overturned in a by-election and although Jenrick conceded his party was “disappointed,” he added that he would not “read too much into by-elections”.

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Asked by Derbyshire, who was standing in for Kuenssberg, what he made of the losses, he said: “I wouldn’t read too much into by-elections.

“Governments tend to lose by-elections. I was elected in a by-election nine years ago and at that point the Conservative Party hadn’t won a by-election in government for 25 years.”

Jenrick was then asked if he was in denial to which he replied: “I think we all have to listen to what the voters are saying in those by-elections but we also shouldn’t read too much into them.

“My sense is that the public are undecided, they’re certainly not sold on Keir Starmer.”

He added that the “key thing” was not to worry about “party politics” and instead deliver on the public’s priorities including inflation and NHS waiting lists.

Education claim

Derbyshire was asked if the PM’s policies on A-level reform and a smoking ban would help the Tory party win votes.

“I think people care passionately about education and the prospects of their children,” Jenrick said to which Derbyshire replied she didn’t see people “marching in the streets” about it.

Jenrick continued: “I think people in a constituency like mine [Newark] do want to see good technical and vocational education that is of the same parity of esteem as academic qualifications like A-levels.”

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Asked if this was coming up on doorsteps, Jenrick said “it is actually”, to which Derbyshire replied “come on” in disbelief.

“People are saying to you on the doorstep ‘we need to change A-levels’?” Derbyshire asked.

Jenrick added: “If you come to a constituency like mine where the majority of people have not gone to university.

“Many people have got technical and vocational qualifications, they want to think those have the same esteem as A-levels.

“They don’t believe in the constant drive for people to go to university.”