Pollsters say dramatic swings spell bad news for Rishi Sunak, yet PM’s allies say there are still reasons to hope

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Rishi Sunak on Friday managed to avoid becoming the first prime minister since 1968 to lose three byelections on the same day, as his party slipped to defeats in two safe seats but clung on in Boris Johnson’s former seat of Uxbridge and South Ruislip.

Conservatives portrayed the results as a sign that Labour’s huge national poll lead is vulnerable, especially when the Tories find the right issues to campaign on, as they did in Uxbridge with Labour’s plan to extend London’s Ultra-low emission zone.

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