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Prime Minister Boris Johnson's centre-right Conservative Party held onto the outer London seat of Old Bexley and Sidcup in the 2 December parliamentary by-election with a 10.3% swing against the party. However, a much sterner test is set to come in the form of the North Shropshire by-election on 16 December.

  • The Conservatives held the seat with 51.5% of the vote, down from 64.5% in the 2019 election. The party's majority fell from 18,952 to 4,478, although this is somewhat mitigated for the Conservatives by the very low turnout. Just 33.5% of eligible voters went to the polls, the lowest in a parliamentary by-election since 2018.
  • While holding the seat will come as some relief to PM Boris Johnson as he grapples with ongoing internal and external questions about his leadership, the major test comes in the North Shropshire by-election on 16 December (see here for MNI Political Risk article on the contests). Following the resignation of Conservative MP Owen Paterson, the centrist Liberal Democrats - who have a well-earned reputation for winning mid-term parliamentaty by-elections - are targeting the seat heavily.
Chart 1. Old Bexley and Sidcup 2019 GE and 2021 By-Election Results, Vote Share %

Source: BBC, MNI