TORY MP Andrew Bowie has claimed by-election defeats in Tamworth and Mid-Bedfordshire were “not gigantic” as he blamed the results on people staying at home.

In a jaw-dropping assessment of what was undoubtedly a torrid night for the Tories, the West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine MP insisted people “are supportive of what we’re doing but just were not prepared to come out and vote for us”.

Labour overturned huge Conservative majorities to take both seats, with Tamworth experiencing the second-biggest swing since the Second World War.

Mid-Bedfordshire, a seat previously held by Nadine Dorries, is a seat the Tories have held comfortably for 90 years where they had a majority of 24,000.

But Bowie was in total denial when interviewed on Sky News that the party needed to change and insisted people were just “reserving judgment” on who to vote for in the next General Election.

He said: “We’ve got to take notice and listen to what voters are telling us but what’s been quite clear on the doorsteps is that people do agree with our priorities, but they are reserving judgement when it comes to who they are going to vote for in the next General Election.”

“They weren’t gigantic by-election defeats, I think both were in the region of 2000 votes between the Conservative and Labour party.”

When Bowie was then presented with a graph showing just how seismic the shift was in both areas given their history, he remained adamant the party was not failing.

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He went on: “There was a reduction in the number of votes cast for Labour in Mid Bedfordshire and they only added 800 in Tamworth. There is no groundswell of support for the Labour Party.  

“What that tells me [gesturing towards the graph] is that people are supportive of what we’re doing but they were just were not prepared to come out and vote for us.

“We know throughout history, by-elections have been an opportunity for people to cats a protest vote or not engage in the process. I’m quite sure that’s what happened today.”

Alistair Strathern took Mid-Bedfordshire with a majority of 1192 over his Tory rival Festus Akinbusoye, with a swing of 20.5 percentage points to Labour.

In Tamworth, Labour’s Sarah Edwards defeated Tory Andrew Cooper by a majority of 1316.