ishi Sunak has admitted the Conservatives face “challenging” circumstances as the party prepares for an uphill battle in a number of crunch by-elections.
July 20 will see elections in London’s Uxbridge South Ruislip following the resignation of Boris Johnson and in Selby and Ainsty after his ally Nigel Adams quit.
A third will take place in Somerton and Frome in Somerset, triggered by the resignation of David Warburton.
Mid-term by-elections for incumbent governments are always difficult and that’s not news to anybody. Clearly the circumstances for these by-elections are obviously challenging
The Prime Minister, who is attending the Nato summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, visited Selby last Saturday as the Tories fight to retain the seat that the party held in 2019 with a 20,000 majority.
He told reporters on Tuesday: “Mid-term by-elections for incumbent governments are always difficult and that’s not news to anybody.
“Clearly the circumstances for these by-elections are obviously challenging.
“When I was out and about in Selby there was great energy and enthusiasm from our volunteers and our members.
“I had a great time campaigning.”
He added: “The message I heard loud and clear from people is, ‘Just focus on the things that matter to them and make a difference on them’.”
Labour is confident it can take the Uxbridge seat, following Mr Johnson’s dramatic decision to quit as an MP last month.
The polls come as many households are struggling amid stubbornly high inflation, while rising interest rates have also heaped pain on mortgage-holders.