Defeat in the North Shropshire by-election was the fault of ‘the Conservative Party collectively’, Sajid Javid said yesterday.

The Tory critics swiftly blamed Boris Johnson after the historic by-election swing.

The Health Secretary admitted it was a ‘disappointing result’ but suggested the party as a whole bore responsibility.

He also praised the Prime Minister’s ability to ‘win election after election’, adding: ‘I think Boris Johnson is the best person to take us through the challenges the country faces.’

Lib Dem Helen Morgan was elected in North Shropshire with a majority of almost 6,000 to heap more pressure on the Prime Minister and send shockwaves through the Conservatives but health secretary Sajid Javid said the historic defeat was the fault of the entire party

Lib Dem Helen Morgan, a North Shropshire Lib Dem was elected with a large majority of nearly 6,000 votes to increase pressure on the Prime Minster and shockwaves through Conservatives. However, Sajid Javid, the health secretary said that the party’s historic loss was their fault.

On Thursday, the Lib Dems defeated a large Tory majority and won North Shropshire by nearly 6,000 votes.

Owen Paterson, who was found to have violated lobbying regulations following an attempt of the Tories to stop him from serving a 30 day suspension, quit and took part in the by-election.

The result sent shock waves through Westminster after weeks of damaging headlines about Tory ‘sleaze’ and reports of parties in No 10 breaching Covid restrictions last year.

Mr Javid told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show yesterday: ‘I think we got a number of things wrong. How we handled the Owen Paterson affair was wrong and I’ve said that before.

The Health Secretary Sajid Javid (pictured) admitted it was a ¿disappointing result¿ but suggested the Conservative party as a whole bore responsibility for the defeat in Shropshire

The Health Secretary Sajid Javid (pictured) admitted it was a ‘disappointing result’ but suggested the Conservative party as a whole bore responsibility for the defeat in Shropshire

‘I think that was hugely damaging because he was their MP. And a lot of his constituents wouldn’t have liked what has happened.

Some of the news about whether or not there were Christmas party gatherings at No. 10 is a good example. The fact that it’s been investigated hasn’t helped.

‘So it’s a disappointing result. Let’s not sugar-coat it and pretend there’s some good lining in it.’

Tories need to stop forgetting that farmers are also voters

Minette Batters President, National Farmers Union 

Lord Frost gave several reasons for his ‘disillusionment’ with the Government’s policy when he dramatically resigned over the weekend.

But as well as the crippling cost of ‘net zero’, high taxes and the Plan B to tackle Covid, there was one vital – and traditionally Conservative – area the former Brexit negotiator did not mention.

That, of course, is the Government’s approach to farming and food production. The media largely neglected the same subject in discussions of last week’s by- election in North Shropshire – which saw the Tories lose a seat they had held for almost 200 years.

But this could scarcely be more important – and it cuts to the heart of what this Government is doing.

Do we want the ‘lightly regulated, low-tax, entrepreneurial economy’ that Lord Frost described – which implies a rejection of farm support alongside much higher imports of food from less regulated countries?

Are we becoming a large-state economy, dependent on red tape and higher taxes, in order to retain the Red Wall votes won by the Conservative Party at the last election, or are we now an industrialist strategy-oriented big-state economy?

NFU president Minette Batters (pictured) says that if we care about where food comes from, animal-welfare standards, and the countryside then we need policies that support our farmers

Minette Batters, president of the NFU (pictured), says we must care about how food is grown, what animal welfare standards are, and where it goes to land. We need policies to support farmers.

Combining the best aspects of farming and food is the future.

Farmers are now at risk of being left in the dust by Government’s lack of strategic thinking.

We need to care about the land, where it comes from and what animal welfare standards are being met, as well as the rural environment, so we must have a network of policies that help our farmers.

We will be world leaders in climate-friendly, sustainable farming. I have supported the Government’s commitment to sign trade deals – but our recently announced deal with Australia has serious problems.

The ‘impact assessment’ that came alongside the Australia deal predicted falls in gross output for UK beef and sheep meat. It is important to consider the impact that this could have on families farms located in rural areas, such as those found upland in Wales.

Free trade is built on the notion that there will be some losers – hopefully outnumbered by the winners – and decades of trade liberalisation show that to be true.

MS Batters say the ¿impact assessment¿ that came alongside the Australia deal predicted falls in gross output for UK beef and sheep meat and the impact of that on family farms will be huge

MS Batters say the ‘impact assessment’ that came alongside the Australia deal predicted falls in gross output for UK beef and sheep meat and the impact of that on family farms will be huge

The purpose of negotiating deals with large agricultural producers such as Australia or New Zealand is to increase imports from these countries. And that is what we’ve agreed to – in spades.

Our Government is going to do everything possible for British farmers in order to make them more competitive in this new, challenging environment. However, this is not the case. In contrast to Lord Frost’s view of a ‘lightly regulated’ system, we see Defra promoting the counter position with considerable success.

Farmers now face an Animal Sentience Bill as well as a Kept Animal Bill as Animal Welfare Bills.

And Government increasingly seems to support the removal of land from food production – often by ‘rewilding’, this threatens farmers’ livelihoods as well as Britain’s self-sufficiency and food security.

The UK’s trade policy is forcing British farmers to face imports from the best agricultural producers in the world. Another Government department has tied their hands.

We’re still culling healthy pigs and putting pig farmers out of business. Due to lack of seasonal workers, this summer £60million worth of unharvested crops were wasted, left to rot in the fields. Inflation has caused our prices to soar.

Due to a lack of seasonal workers in abattoirs, British farmers are still culling healthy pigs

British farmers still kill healthy pigs due to the lack of seasonal workers in abattoirs.

It is clear now. The reality is that farm incomes are going to be under threat. Prices will increase. And we will increasingly have to compete with imports which don’t face the same standards and regulations UK farmers adhere to.

The government must be honest with farmers and citizens about the negative impacts of the current two-tiered system.

They need to face up to the reality of the decisions they’re taking, commit in writing to growing our self-sufficiency in food production and bring together a food and farming policy that works for everyone.

And it’s time for this Government to remember it cannot rely for ever on that vital voter base: Farmers and rural populations.