Conservative chairman Oliver Dowden has submitted his letter of resignation after the party’s crushing double by-election loss in Tiverton and Honiton and Wakefield.
In an apparent reference to Partygate in a letter to Boris Johnson, Mr Dowden said he shared the feelings of Tory supporters who were “distressed and disappointment by recent events”
The senior MP said “somebody must take responsibility” for losses adding “we cannot continue as business as usual.”
Conservative MP Sir Roger welcomed his resignation saying Oliver Dowden could “no longer defend the indefensible,” while North Dorset MP Simon Hoare described the shock announcement as “an honourable letter from an honourable man.”
The month and the year on the letter were typed while the date was handwritten, raising questions of whether the former party chairman had the letter prepared ahead of the by-elections.
Read Mr Dowden’s full letter below:
“Dear prime minister, it is with great sadness that I must resign as Chairman of the Conservative Party with immediate effect.
“Yesterday’s Parliamentary by-elections are the latest in a run of very poor results for our party. 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.
“It has been an honour to serve in your Cabinets as Party Chairman, culture secretary and minister for the Cabinet Office.
“In particular, I want to take this opportunity to pay tribute to our excellent Conservative volunteers and staffers who work so tirelessly for our cause. They are the backbone of our great party and deserve better than this.
“Finally I want to emphasise that this is a deeply personal decision that I have taken alone. I will, as always, remain loyal to the Conservative Party.”
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