By-elections 2023 live: Three Conservative seats being contested

Is Rishi Sunak about to become the first prime minister to lose three by-elections in a day since 1968?

I’ve been chatting to the parties over the course of today.

Senior Tories say they expect to lose all three. There’s some expectation management going on here, but the general mood is pretty bleak.

Labour are confident in Uxbridge. This is the sort of seat they need to win to show they are on course to win power at the next general election. The expansion of the Ultra Low Emissions Zone charge in London under Labour Mayor Sadiq Khan has been tricky for the party, but not many people think tricky enough to stop them winning here.

Selby is the bigger ask for Labour but shadow ministers are optimistic they’ll win here too. If they do, that’s a huge victory for the party, overturning a majority of 20,137 from 2019. This is not a seat that’s high on Labour’s target list – victory today would suggest a landslide is possible (with the caveat that by-elections and general elections can yield quite different results).

It may come down to how many Conservative voters stay at home and how many switch to Labour.

The Lib Dems have been confident in Somerton and Frome. Again, victory here would involve overturning a massive majority of 19,213. But the Lib Dems have experience of taking previously safe Conservative seats in recent months.

We’ll know for sure over the next few hours, but the initial picture is not good for Sunak.

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