Sir Charles Walker, a senior Conservative MP, said he believes it will be “almost impossible” for the Conservative party to win the next general election.
Sir Charles, who is standing down as an MP at the next election, told Times Radio: “The Conservative Party, clearly it is in a better place than it was six weeks ago when Liz Truss was prime minister. At least we have someone competent in charge.
“Now, I hope what Rishi Sunak does is make sure Labour doesn’t wipe the floor with us, that we perhaps win 220 seats and we form a viable opposition which was not the case in 1997 when we went down to having 165 members of parliament.”
This comes as Labour easily held the City of Chester following a by-election, winning by a majority of 10,974.
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Receiving 17,309 votes with 61.22% of the vote share, Labour achieved its highest majority and share of the vote ever in the seat.
Despite already holding the seat, Labour still managed a swing of 13.76%.
Conversely, the Conservatives received just 6,335 votes and a 22.4% vote share, their worst result in the constituency since 1832.
The constituency was once a marginal seat. In 2015, Labour won by only 93 votes. In 2017, Labour won by 9,176 votes and by 6,164 in 2019.
In 2010, the Conservatives took the seat from Labour with a 2,583 majority.
Samantha Dixon, the newly elected MP, said in her victory speech early on Friday: “Tonight the people of Chester have sent a clear message. They have said Rishi Sunak’s Conservatives no longer have a mandate to govern”.
Professor Sir John Curtice said the 13 per cent swing, if replicated at a general election, would be enough for Sir Keir Starmer to win a majority.
He told the BBC: “A 13 point swing to Labour since the last election, it wouldn’t produce an enormous Labour majority but it would almost undoubtedly be enough to produce a Labour overall majority.
“But of course we should be very, very careful of simply taking the swings in by-elections and extrapolating through to general elections.
“I think the crucial point is if we compare this by-election performance with comparable previous by-elections it is consistent with the claim that A. Labour are in a stronger position than they have ever been in the last 12 years and B. that the performance is consistent with what happened the last time we had a parliament which ended in a defeat of a Conservative government.”
Labour leader Keir Starmer has tweeted: “Huge congratulations to [Samantha Dixon] who will be an excellent MP for City of Chester. The message to Rishi Sunak’s Conservative government is clear: People are fed up of 12 years of Tory rule and want the change Labour offers. It’s time for a Labour government”.