Shropshire Star

General Election 2024 Opinion: How the Conservatives squandered a golden opportunity

"To all those who voted for us, for the first time, all those whose pencils may have wavered over the ballot and who heard the voices of their parents and their grandparents whispering anxiously in their ears, I say thank you for the trust you have placed in us and in me, and we will work round the clock to repay your trust and to deliver on your priorities."

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Boris Johnson, December 13, 2019. One wonders what odds the bookies would have given then that, four years and 205 days later, the Labour Party would be celebrating a landslide victory of historic proportions in the General Election 2024.

That cold and frosty morning, it looked like the blonde bombshell had rewritten the laws of political gravity. Not only had he revitalised his party after nine years in government, he had won seats in corners of the UK that had never elected Conservative MPs in more than a century.

The collapse of the Conservatives since 2019 has been something that constitutional historians will ponder over decades from now.

Of course, the downfall began with Partygate, one of the great mysteries that us ordinary folk will never understand. At the time the Tories were basking in the afterglow of the vaccination programme, and Sir Keir Starmer's grip on the Labour leadership looking decidedly shaky.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson after making a statement in Downing Street on his re-election in December 2019