Johnson resolute as UK by-election losses loom
Britain's beleaguered Prime Minister Boris Johnson said yesterday he will not resign even if his ruling Conservatives lose two closely watched by-elections, including in a once-safe seat held by the party for more than a century. The Tories are tipped to lose the contests for the Westminster seats of Tiverton and Honiton in southwest England -- a true blue heartland which has voted Conservative in every general election since the 1880s -- and Wakefield in the north. The votes are being held after the constituencies' former Tory MPs both resigned in disgrace. Tiverton and Honiton's ex-lawmaker Neil Parish quit after admitting watching pornography on his phone in the House of Commons, while Wakefield's Imran Ahmad Khan was jailed for sexually assaulting a teenage boy. The by-elections also follow months of scandals and setbacks that have severely dented the popularity of Johnson and his party, and come just weeks after he narrowly survived an attempt by his own lawmakers to oust him as Tory leader and prime minister. The June 6 vote among Conservative MPs saw more than 40 percent of the parliamentary party desert Johnson, leaving him severely weakened and struggling to reset his turbulent tenure. As voters head to the polls the embattled UK leader is thousands of miles away attending a Commonwealth summit, from where he again insisted quitting was not on his mind.