Neil Parish, whose resignation as a Conservative MP over watching porn in the Commons triggered the Tiverton and Honiton byelection, said the Tories should face reality and accept Boris Johnson's unpopularity. Parish told Radio Devon:
It is becoming increasingly necessary for the party and the MPs to discuss what is the long term position of the prime minister. The public is concerned. I am afraid at the moment that there is too much distraction and we are not getting on with the job. That will be the issue for MPs going forward. He will make that decision and he alone will make that decision. You cannot ignore people and you ask them their verdict, and it is clear that the verdict is clear this morning and it is for the PM to look at it very seriously.
Parish said he is very fond of Boris Johnson but added that he does bluster and the time for bluster is over and we must face reality now. He said the massive swing against the Tories was a shock but he claimed it was very much a national vote and added: I m afraid the party paid the price for it. Parish said of his own downfall: It is a shame I made such a terrible mistake. He said that the PM was the main focus of the by-election because of the presidential style of politics. He said something.
It's the leader of your party and their reputation that is up for trial, especially in a byelection.