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Live Reporting

Edited by Chris Clayton

All times stated are UK

  1. Thank you and goodbye

    Thank you for joining us today. Our coverage today was brought to you by Chas Geiger, Jeremy Gahagan, Victoria Lindrea, Alexandra Fouché, Richard Morris, Nathan Williams, Chris Giles, Rob Corp, Paul Gribben and Chris Clayton.

  2. What's been happening today?

    Boris Johnson

    We’re about to close the page - but before we go let’s take a look at what’s been happening in the aftermath of the two Tory by-election defeats.

    Boris Johnson says he’ll “listen and learn” and get on with the job to “continue with the work that we're doing to help people in the short term with the pressures they're facing”.

    The PM's defended his record saying his government has “not only achieved remarkable things” but will “continue to do some great things for the people of this country”.

    He also told a press conference in Rwanda that Oliver Dowden, who quit as Conservative Party co-chairman following the by-election results, "did a lot of good work".

    But former Tory leader Michael Howard says Johnson should resign for the good of the Tory Party and believes the country would be better off under new leadership.

    Meanwhile, Labour leader Keir Stamer reacted to his party’s victory in Wakefield saying they "absolutely smashed it".

    He says the result was a “judgement" on the Tory party and Johnson, adding "they are out of touch and out of ideas".

    And the Liberal Democrats marked their big win in Tiverton and Honiton by literally showing Johnson the door.

    They used the prop with the words "It's time to show Boris the door" emblazoned across it to emphasise what they say people on the streets of east Devon have been telling them.

    Liberal Democrat Leader Sir Ed Davey and Richard Foord MP
    Image caption: Liberal Democrat Leader Sir Ed Davey (right) celebrates with Richard Foord, the newly-elected Liberal Democrat MP for Tiverton and Honiton
  3. Wakefield win bittersweet for former Labour MP

    Mark D'Arcy

    Parliamentary Correspondent

    Mary Creagh

    Former Labour MP for Wakefield, Mary Creagh, who lost the seat to the Conservatives in 2019, says that her party’s by-election victory is "a bittersweet day for me".

    The winning candidate Simon Lightwood had been her constituency office manager and they remain great friends, she adds.

    She says the result shows voters have fallen out of love with Boris Johnson - the Conservatives are "in danger of looking like Labour did in 2019, not a government focusing on levelling up but actually a campaign to keep one man in office... that was the terrible mistake that Labour made in 2019".

    "That’s a disastrous path for any party to go down, and I’m certain Wakefield will not be the last brick in the Red Wall to crumble."

  4. Tories must look again at PM's position - Scottish Conservative leader

    Douglas Ross
    Image caption: Ross's stance on the prime minister's position has flip-flopped in recent months, but he voted against the PM in the recent confidence vote

    The Scottish Conservative leader has said the party needs to "look at the position of the prime minister" again in the wake of the two by-election defeats.

    Douglas Ross tells BBC Scotland that the party must "listen to the public" and change.

    "I think it's right that we continually look at the position of the prime minister, look at what it is doing to the party and to the country," he says.

    "This is another election event where the public have sent a strong message to the prime minister and to the party that cannot be ignored and must not be ignored."

    Ross previously said the PM should think about resigning, after 41% of Tory MPs said they had no confidence in his leadership.

  5. What's the history between Michael Howard and Boris Johnson?

    Earlier former Conservative leader Michael Howard added to the pressure on Boris Johnson by calling for him to go and the pair have not always seen eye to eye.

    Back in November 2004, Johnson was fired from the shadow cabinet by Howard, then Tory leader, for having an affair.

    However, it seemed the relationship had improved. In 2019, the peer told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that he had voted for Johnson to become leader of the party.

    He told the programme that much of what had been reported over the years over Johnson's firing at his hand "isn't quite accurate", including the accusation that Johnson lied to Howard over the affair, and that was what led to the firing.

    He said that he wasn't "entirely sure that I was right to take that action [firing Johnson]".

    But, in the same interview, Lord Howard strongly criticised Westminster gossip at the time that Boris Johnson was prepared to suspend Parliament to force through a no-deal Brexit.

    This, he said, would "set a terrible precedent".

  6. Boris brings much needed boldness to PM role - Eustice

    George Eustice, pictured earlier this week

    And there's support for Boris Johnson from Environment Secretary George Eustice who says he has a "boldness that he brings to the job [that] we need in these difficult times".

    Speaking at the Royal Highland Show in Scotland, Eustice admits the by-election results were "very disappointing" and that the government had "got to listen to the message that voters have sent".

    He tells the BBC a "significant minority" of MPs had indicated they wanted the prime minister to leave his post immediately, having lost confidence in his ability to carry out the role, but says he backs Johnson to lead the party into the next general election.

  7. Johnson won't accept personal responsibility for by-election defeats

    Alex Forsyth

    Political correspondent

    As you might expect, the by-election defeats came up repeatedly during the prime minister's press conference in Kigali, but Boris Johnson would not accept any personal responsibility, or acknowledge that his leadership had had any part to play.

    He said he didn’t think British politics should be about personality, but for some of his own MPs, his personality is exactly the problem. Some talk about the need for a change of direction or, as one put it to me earlier a "reset" moment, but there was little sign of that from the prime minister.

    He put much blame on the cost of living, saying when people find it tough they blame governments. But while that’s undoubtedly a huge issue facing the country, for some Tories, Boris Johnson’s style of government is an issue in of itself.

    The prime minister was defiant - talking about his plan and seeming keen to press on, a mood echoed by his team here in Rwanda. He suggested governments shouldn’t be defined by by-elections, pointing to administrations that have survived defeats in the past.

    But the way he responds to these by-election losses could well prove defining.

  8. So what did Boris Johnson say?

    Boris Johnson

    And that's the end of the prime minister's press conference - so what did we learn.

    Johnson addressed the by-election defeats by saying people are sending a message – and we "have to respond".

    He says "we're going through a tough time right now" but is confident his government has the "right programme" to deal with the situation.

    He adds it "has not only achieved remarkable things... (but) is going to continue to do some great things for the people of this country".

    He avoids answering a question asking him, given the tough by-election results, if he's ever considered resigning. He is also asked if he's confident the cabinet still backs him – replying ministers are "getting on with the job".

  9. People will continue to 'beat me up', says Johnson

    The government has got some difficult stuff right, the PM says, but he admits there will still be "tough times ahead".

    "No doubt people will continue to beat me up and say this or that to attack me."

    He adds: "That's fine, that's quite right, that is the job of politicians.

    "In the end, voters, journalists, they have no-one else to make their complaints to, I have to take that."

    Johnson insists the government has the best way forward, and knows how to fix the economic issues and build a stronger economy.

  10. Johnson 'focused on fixing issues in UK economy'

    After the loss of the safe seat of Tiverton and Honiton, Johnson is asked how he can stop "Blue Wall" voters switching to the Lib Dems.

    The PM says voters will get his undivided attention at "fixing the issues" in the UK economy – that cause unnecessary cost for consumers and others. There are some parts that need reform – such as transport, housing and energy, he says.

  11. We need to listen, learn and deliver for the British people - PM

    Johnson is asked if he’s in denial about the by-election results?

    He says “if governments crumpled after by-elections results in the whole of the post-war period we wouldn’t have had many post-war governments.”

    He repeats we need to listen and learn and get on and deliver for the British people.

  12. I had 'good old chinwag' with Prince Charles - PM

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Prince Charles

    The PM is asked if he has spoken to Prince Charles about the Rwanda asylum policy and if he can describe his relationship with the heir to the throne.

    Johnson says he’s not going to go into what happened, adding I don’t discuss conversations either with the Queen.

    But he says it was a “good old chinwag” adding we covered a lot of ground.

  13. Ministers 'getting on with the job'

    Johnson is asked if he's confident the cabinet still backs him – after members were "rather quiet in tweeting their support" this morning.

    The PM says that back in London, ministers are "getting on with the job" of sorting out the cost-of-living pressures and delivering our agenda for change, reform and improvement.

  14. Johnson doesn't answer when asked if he's considered resigning

    A reporter from the Sun asks Johnson after a tough day if there ever was a moment he’s considered resigning. (He avoids answering that question) She also asked about airport workers who’ve announced they could go on strike over the summer.

    Johnson replies I don’t think there are justifications for these strikes and urges people to get round the table to sort it out. He adds there’s an overwhelming case to reform the railways.

  15. No getting away from by-election damage for PM

    Alex Forsyth

    Political correspondent

    After the turmoil at home, Boris Johnson was focused on his work on the global stage in his opening statement, but there’s no getting away from the damage these by-election losses have inflicted.

    Questioned by journalists, he was defiant - refusing to acknowledge any responsibility for losing two seats and a party chair.

    He said he had to "listen and learn" - but went on to talk about having the "right plan and programme to get through it", so there is little sign of a change of direction.

    The question is how that goes down with critics in his own party, as well as voters.

  16. My government has done great things and will continue to do great things

    A reporter tells Johnson - your opponents say you're delusional and putting your own interests ahead of the party and country. He’s asked what is his biggest asset.

    The PM replies people want a government which focuses on their concerns and not on political consequences in Westminster. He says his government has done great things and will continue to do great things for this country.

    He says we’re going through a tough time and that he understands people’s feelings, but says we’re going to get through them.

  17. Johnson - Times are tough but we have the right programme

    Boris Johnson

    The BBC's Alex Forsyth says although Boris Johnson is talking about global issues today, voters in the UK seem to be sending the message that they don't like the job Johnson is doing back at home.

    The PM says you have to look at the wider issues affecting people, such as the cost-of-living crisis stemming from supply chain issues and the war in Ukraine - as the route cause for the by-election losses

    He says people are sending a message – and we "have to respond".

    Johnson says "times are tough" but the government has the "right programme" to deal with the situation.

  18. Johnson - It's moving to be in Rwanda

    Boris Johnson has opened his press conference in Kigali saying it’s an extraordinary and moving experience to be in Rwanda - a country that experienced some of the worst horrors of the 20th Century and now finds itself with a thriving social and economic life.

    He says the country is hosting leaders of two thirds of the world’s population for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.

  19. PM speaking to reporters now

    Boris Johnson is up on his feet as he holds a press conference in Rwanda.

    The focus, for him, will be the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Kigali.

    But he's bound to be asked about the Tories' twin by-election losses by the travelling UK press pack.

    Stay with us for all the latest updates here.

  20. Voters have spoken, we need to listen - Zahawi

    Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi says a "laser-like focus on delivery" is needed in the wake of the Tories' by-election defeats.

    "The voters have spoken, and we need to listen," he tweeted.

    Zahawi says Conservative voters in particular stayed at home, adding his party needs to give them reasons to come back at the next election. He says the government delivered on vaccines and is doing the same on the cost of living.

    "Voters will judge this Conservative government on what we deliver next. For me, it's a focus on skills, schools and families," he adds.