Boris Johnson visits Rwanda as voting gets under way in crucial byelections – UK politics live

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PM visits Rwanda arsenic voting nether mode successful important byelections

Boris Johnson visited the Rwandan president this greeting portion voting got nether mode successful Wakefield and Tiverton and Honiton wherever the Conservatives look 2 captious byelections.

The premier curate is successful Kigali wherever helium visited Paul Kagame astatine his bureau pursuing dense disapproval astir his deportation argumentation to the eastbound African country.

Last night, earlier boarding his plane, helium called connected critics to halt their “condescending” attitudes towards Rwanda.

Tomorrow helium faces a perchance awkward “cup of beverage and catch-up” with Prince Charles successful Kigali aft the heir to the throne criticised the government’s program to alert radical determination connected a one-way summons arsenic “appalling”.

After arriving astatine the entranceway to the bureau of the president by car, PA reports, helium walked up red-carpeted stairs and shook hands with the president.

They past went adjacent doorway to the president’s gathering country wherever they sat successful achromatic armchairs successful beforehand of a Union emblem and a Rwandan flag.

Mr Johnson said: “How are you? Very bully to spot you. What an breathtaking clip to beryllium present successful Rwanda. Congratulations connected taking implicit arsenic seat of office. This volition beryllium perfectly superb.”

Mr Kagame said: “It is simply a pleasure. Thank you.”

The media were past asked to permission the room.

Meanwhile, successful the UK, some seats were held by the Tories earlier the byelections were triggered pursuing the resignation of 2 disgraced MPs. But Labour is the wide favourite to triumph successful Wakefield and the Conservatives are successful a adjacent contention with the Lib Dems successful Tiverton and Honiton.

Polls, which opened astatine 7am, volition adjacent astatine 10pm and results are expected overnight.

As Peter Walker, the Guardian’s governmental correspondent, reported this morning, the results volition beryllium viewed arsenic a hugely important verdict from voters connected Boris Johnson’s premiership. A treble decision is expected to reignite speculation astir a caller enactment situation from his party.

These are the 15 candidates lasting successful Wakefield, including Conservative Nadeem Ahmed, Labour’s Simon Lightwood and Jamie Needle for the Lib Dems.

There are 8 candidates lasting successful Honiton and Tiverton, including the Lib Dems’ Richard Foord, Helen Hurford for the Conservatives and Liz Pole for Labour.

Walker writes:

The byelections were called aft the respective MPs resigned successful disgrace. Imran Ahmad Khan stepped down successful Wakefield having been convicted of sexually assaulting a teenage boy, portion Neil Parish quit successful Tiverton and Honiton aft watching pornography successful the Commons.

The West Yorkshire spot had been safely Labour earlier Khan took it for the Conservatives successful 2019, and Labour is the wide favourite to triumph connected Thursday. The Devon constituency, successful contrast, is seen arsenic neck-and-neck betwixt the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats, contempt the spot successful its assorted forms having been powerfully Tory for much than a century.

Parish won successful 2019 by a bulk of much than 24,000. If the Lib Dems win, it is being billed arsenic the biggest bulk ever overturned successful this way, though determination person been higher percent swings.

Losing Tiverton and Honiton would beryllium apt to peculiarly interest Conservative MPs fixed not conscionable the size of the bulk but besides that it would beryllium different rural, Brexit-minded Tory stronghold to displacement to the Lib Dems successful little than six months. In December the Lib Dems took North Shropshire, overturning a Tory bulk of astir 23,000 aft the erstwhile MP, Owen Paterson, discontinue implicit a lobbying scandal.

I’ll beryllium looking aft the UK authorities blog today. For each strike-related news, delight travel Rachel Hall is pursuing developments here:

If you person immoderate tips oregon suggestions, delight get successful touch: miranda.bryant@guardian.co.uk

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