Who the candidates are and what the results could mean for the Tories

Mr Parish said he first visited the website accidentally after looking at tractors online, but then returned to it for a second time deliberately in a “moment of madness”.

After telling The Telegraph’s Chopper’s Politics podcast last month he may run as an independent candidate, he has since decided against standing on June 23.

What happened last time?

At the 2019 General Election, in which Mr Johnson’s party won a landslide victory, there was a swing of 3.3 per cent towards the Conservatives.

The Tories picked up 60.2 per cent of the vote (35,893 votes), followed by Labor on 19.5 per cent (11,654) and the Liberal Democrats on 14.8 per cent (8,807).

Voters in Tiverton and Honiton backed Brexit in June 2016, with 57.82 per cent voting to Leave compared to 42.18 per cent for Remain.

Who are the candidates?

Listed by surname (in alphabetical order), the candidates are as follows:

  • Jordan Donoghue-Morgan, Heritage
  • Andy Foan, Reform UK
  • Richard Foord, Liberal Democrats
  • Helen Hurford, Conservative
  • Liz Pole, Labor
  • Frankie Rufolo, For Britain
  • Ben Walker, Ukip
  • Gill Westcott, Green Party

The Liberal Democrats, who are aiming to secure victory in Tiverton and Honiton despite coming third in 2019, have chosen Richard Foord, a former Army Major who trained at Sandhurst, as their by-election candidate.

After drawing up an all-female shortlist, the Conservatives have nominated Helen Hurford, a former head teacher. Speaking to Radio Exe, she said she now backed Mr Johnson but declined to reveal how she would have voted in the June 6 confidence vote, had she been an MP.

Labor is fielding Liz Pole, who was also the party’s candidate in 2019 when the Tories lost 7.6 per cent of their vote share compared to the 2017 poll amid a decline in the party’s national fortunes.

Is there a Labour-Lib Dem ‘electoral pact’?

There has been speculation about a ‘pact’ between Labor and the Liberal Democrats as the by-election will take place on the same day as another in Wakefield, which Labor believes it has a better chance of winning.

Labor has instructed its frontbenchers not to travel to Tiverton and Honiton to campaign in order to give the Liberal Democrats a better chance of victory, Politics Home reported last month.

A Labor spokesman insisted they would “fight for every vote” in the constitution, and both Sir Keir Starmer’s party and the Liberal Democrats have categorically denied they have come to such an agreement.

Oliver Dowden, the Conservative Party chairman, accused the two parties of standing down for one another at May’s local elections in order to boost the Left-wing and liberal vote nationwide.

How could a pact affect the outcome?

Working together against the Conservatives gives the Liberal Democrats and Labor a 20-point boost on polling day, a Telegraph analysis has found.

At the local elections last month, Labor gave the Liberal Democrats a clear run at 49 seats in the South West. The Liberal Democrats received an average vote share of 51 per cent in those seats, compared with a 29 per cent vote share in seats in the same area where Labor did run.

Similarly, in seats where the Liberal Democrats stood back, Labor received an average vote share of 46 per cent, compared with a vote share of 26 per cent where all major parties ran.

The Conservatives fielded at least one candidate in every ward.

What could the by-election result mean?

The result of the by-election will be announced in the early hours of June 24.

The Conservatives are fighting the election by defending their record of delivery for the local area, the Liberal Democrats have zoned in on farming and the Government’s tax rises, and Labor has focused on the cost-of-living crisis.

If the Conservatives can hold on to Tiverton and Honiton, it will ease jitters about Mr Johnson’s leadership among his MPs in heartland areas after he survived a confidence vote earlier this month, albeit with a bigger rebellion than was expected.

But if they suffer their first defeat in the constitution, there will be questions about whether Mr Johnson’s brand is damaged beyond repair, as well as the direction of his Government’s policies on taxation, the cost-of-living crisis and clean rivers.

Last year, the Liberal Democrats won two surprise by-election victories in traditionally safe Conservative seats as they triumphed in both North Shropshire and Chesham and Amersham.

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