The Conservative Party faces a double blow this morning after they lost two by-elections in one night.
In bad news for Boris Johnson – who is currently in Rwanda – the Tories lost by-elections in Wakefield and Tiverton and Honiton, causing Conservative party chair Oliver Dowden to resign.
Over the Pennines in Wakefield, Labour retook the seat with a 4,925 majority for Simon Lightwood against the Conservatives’ Nadeem Ahmed, the Guardian reports.
Labour had previously held the seat consistently prior to the 2019 election, and the result is a boost to Keir Starmer’s battle to regain the ‘red wall’ constituencies lost three years ago.
Down in Tiverton and Honiton, the Liberal Democrats overturned a 24,000 majority to take the seat, with Lib Dem candidate Richard Foord beating Tory Helen Hurford by 6,144 votes.
That constituency has been Conservative-held in its various forms for more than a century, and according to reports this morning, the result is thought to be the largest numerical majority ever overturned in a by-election.
The prime minister is currently out of the country in Rwanda for the Commonwealth heads of government summit, and when that is finished he will travel to the G7 and Nato summits in Germany and Spain – meaning he’ll be absent from Downing Street for the next week.
However, the double loss pushed Dowden to say the by-elections were ‘the latest in a run of very poor results for our party’. He continued: “Our supporters are distressed and disappointed by recent events, and I share their feelings.
“We cannot carry on with business as usual. Somebody must take responsibility and I have concluded that, in these circumstances, it would not be right for me to remain in office.”
Meanwhile Tory MP Sir Roger Gale, a longtime critic of Johnson, said voters ‘have sent a very clear message of no confidence in the prime minister, and we have to recognise that’.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Gale said: “An honourable prime minister, even at this stage, would now reconsider his position.”
Manchester woman given months to live told she is now cancer free
What an amazing story!
A woman from Manchester has made a miraculous recovery from cancer after she was given just months to live.
Jasmin David says she feels ‘reborn’ following the incredible news that she is cancer free, after her previous devastating diagnosis.
Doctors told the 51-year-old from Fallowfield that she had less than a year to live after breast cancer spread to her lungs, lymph nodes and chest bone, as per Granada Reports.
However, after taking part in a clinical trial at Manchester’s The Christie Hospital, using experimental medicines, she’s been given the all clear.
Jasmin worked in a care home and was previously fit and healthy, but she became worried when she discovered a lump by her nipple in 2017 – it turned out to be an aggressive triple negative form of breast cancer.
After undergoing six gruelling months of chemotherapy and a mastectomy in April 2018, as well as 15 cycles of radiotherapy, her body was cleared of the cancer.
Sadly the cancer returned in October 2019, with scans showing multiple lesions throughout her body leading to a poor prognosis – following which she took part in the clinical trial, two months later.
Jasmin was given an experimental medicine at The Christie, combined with Atezolizumab – which is an immunotherapy drug – with doctors revealing she now shows no evidence of the disease.
Jasmin told Granada Reports: “At first I had many horrible side effects including headaches and spiking temperatures, so I was in hospital over Christmas and quite poorly. Then thankfully I started to respond well to the treatment.
“I celebrated my 50th birthday in February 2020 while still in the middle of treatment and not knowing what the future held.
“Two and a half years ago I thought it was the end and I now feel like I’ve been reborn.
“There is a change in my life after returning from India to see family in April and I have decided to take early retirement and to live my life in gratitude to God and to medical science.
“My family have been very supportive of this decision. I will be celebrating my 25th wedding anniversary in September. I have so much to look forward to.
“My Christian faith helped me a lot on this journey and the prayers and support from family and friends gave me strength to face the challenge.”
Professor Fiona Thistlethwaite, Medical Oncologist and Clinical Director of Manchester CRF at The Christie, and is leading the study, added: “We are really pleased that Jasmin has had such a good outcome.
“At The Christie we are continually testing new drugs and therapies to see if they can benefit more people.”
Congratulations Jasmin, and all the best in the rest of your recovery!
Charley Gadd died after ‘messing around’ with his parents in prank gone wrong
A heartbreaking update
An inquest has heard that the university student who was found dead after going missing from The Warehouse Project had run away as a ‘prank’.
Tragically, Charley Gadd was found dead in the River Irwell near MediaCity on January 10th after a month-long search by police.
It’s now been reported that Charley had run away from his parents during a night out in a prank that turned tragic.
While out with his parents, Jolyon and Kimberley Gadd, at The Warehouse Project on December 11th 2021 he ‘ran off’ while messing around, with Jolyon saying his son had ‘already run away once that night as a joke’.
He said: “I went chasing after him, running a couple of blocks. He fell over and I picked him up. He found it really funny that I was so unfit and we walked off arm in arm. Then we went to get something for him to eat, but he ran off again.”
According to his parents, the 20-year-old ran away while near the Spar Store in St Mary’s Gate at roughly 1.10am on Saturday December 11th – his last movements were seen on CCTV as he headed towards St Annes Street near the Royal Exchange Theatre around 1.15am.
His worried family reported him missing to GMP after spending hours trying to locate him.
Police Coroners Officer David Wood from GMP told Stockport Coroners Court that CCTV showed Charley walking towards St Mary’s parsonage, before being spotted in a car park overlooking the River Irwell.
According to Wood, at 1.18am Charley headed across the car park, which was bordered by a steep drop down into the Irwell, and he was not seen to leave on any camera footage – his body was tragically found several weeks later.
Addressing his parents, Senior Coroner Alison Mutch said: “There was nothing you could do to change what happened, it is one of those tragic accidents that sometimes life brings.”
She added: “This is such a very, very sad situation, particularly for Charley’s family who have lost a beloved son and a beloved brother. It’s clear that Charley was a very intelligent young man, with a very bright future in front of him.
“He was very close with his parents who had a very loving relationship, they had music in common and had been to various music venues together including Wembley, Brighton and then Manchester in December.
“It’s clear that on the night in question Charley was messing around and ran off and sadly became completely disorientated in a city that he was unfamiliar with. I can only imagine the anguish his parents felt that night looking for Charley and wondering what on earth to do.”
Mutch continued: “At that time of year it would have been very challenging to get out. I am satisfied it was a complete accident that happened due to a series of bad luck.
“The car park was dark and he would have been able to see the bright lights on the other side but would have had no idea there was a river between him and the bright lights.”
Jolyon said of his son, who lived in Sudbury, Suffolk: “He packed a huge amount into a tragically short life. I was hugely proud of him. I could not have been prouder.”
Angela Rayner accuses Dominic Raab of ‘snobbery’ after he mocked her opera trip
The deputy prime minister took issue with Rayner’s recent outing to the opera
Angela Rayner has accused Dominic Raab of ‘snobbery’ after he mocked her recent trip to the opera during this week’s PMQs.
The deputy Labour leader, from Stockport, was pictured sipping champagne at the Glyndebourne Festival Opera last week, where she watched the Marriage of Figaro.
Her outing took place on the same week the RMT rail strikes were taking place, causing severe travel disruption across the country.
Raab asked MPs: “Where was she when the comrades were on the picket line last Thursday? Where was she when the Labour front bench were joining them rather than standing up for the public?
“She was at the Glyndebourne music festival sipping champagne, listening to opera. Champagne socialism is back in the Labour Party.”
Raab was also seen winking at Rayner following his remark, an action that has been met by confusion and disgust by many critics.
In response, Rayner said in a statement shortly afterwards: “My advice to the deputy prime minister is to cut out the snobbery and brush up on his opera.
“The Marriage of Figaro is the story of a working-class woman who gets the better of a privileged but dim-witted villain.
“Judging by his own performance today, Dominic Raab could learn a lesson about opening up the arts to everyone, whatever their background.”
Rayner later took to Twitter to share a photo of herself and one of the show’s violinists Tom Esiner at the event, writing: “Dominic Raab won’t approve but I did indeed go the opera last week (it cost me £62).
“Tom Eisner, a working-class lad from Buxton near where I grew up kindly invited me. He’s been playing violin at Glyndebourne for 36 years. Never let anyone tell you you’re not good enough.”
And in response to a social media user who said she feels ‘soiled’ after seeing Raab’s wink, Rayner simply responded: “Imagine how I feel!”.