Prime Minister Boris Johnson (Image: POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
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Boris Johnson has called the Tories by-election trouncing by the Lib Dems "disappointing" as he blamed "particular circumstances" for the historic defeat.
The Prime Minister tried to brush off his party's drubbing in Chesham and Amersham as "a bit peculiar, a bit bizarre" on Friday after Ed Davey's party overturned a 16,000 Tory majority.
Speaking in West Yorkshire, Mr Johnson admitted the humiliating defeat had been "disappointing" for his party in its home counties stronghold.
He said: And you know, I think it’s a bit peculiar, a bit bizarre to… I won London twice, so I think I was elected in Henley twice, and you know, we just last month we had gains in Basildon, Maidstone, Basingstoke and all over the place. So we are a great one-nation party and we will continue with our mission to unite and level up because that is the best way to deliver jobs, prosperity across the whole country.
Asked by reporters if it was a sign the “Blue Wall” in the South was being neglected for voters in the North, the PM said: “There were particular circumstances there and we are getting on with delivering our agenda for the whole country, that’s what one nation Conservatism is all about."
Sarah Green stormed the seat with an 8,000-vote majority in a result which will spark panic at Conservative HQ.
The Lib Dems put the Tories' controversial planning reforms and HS2, which cuts through the Remain-backing constituency, at the heart of the campaign.
Celebrating at a rally in the Buckinghamshire constituency by smashing a blue wall with an orange hammer, Mr Davey put the PM on notice that the Lib Dems were eyeing up other 'true blue' southern seats.
He said: “The Lib Dems came here as underdogs but we campaigned and we are sending a shockwave through British politics.
“This is a great result, a huge swing to us. There are many Conservatives across the country who are now worried."
The PM came under pressure to explain whether the government was neglecting the South in favour of Brexit-voting areas in the North.
Mr Johnson said: I think there’s some misunderstanding about the planning, in fact even some wilful misunderstanding on the part of some of our opponents. But what we want is sensible plans to allow development on brownfield sites… we’re not going to build on green belt sites, we’re not going to build all over the countryside.
But I do think that young people growing up in this country should have the chance of home ownership and that’s what we’re focusing on. I think it’s a great dream for young people in their 20s, 30s that they currently don’t have in the way that they perhaps had a few decades ago. And that’s something that we want to bring back, we want to make it easier and that’s what we’re all about."
Labour's support, meanwhile dipped to just 622 votes.