THE No 10 “Partygate” scandal may dent Tories’ election hopes in the Southend West by-election which could be a catalyst in forcing Boris Johnson from office, pollsters suggest.

Mike Smithson runs, and believes that the the scandal could give the Conservatives a bloody nose in one of their safest seats. The by-election, which takes place next Thursday, follows the killing of Sir David Amess, who was elected with almost 60 per cent of the vote.

The seat has only ever been held by Conservative MPs since it was created in 1950. However, the by-election is not being contested by Labour or the Lib Dems.

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But Mr Smithson said: “In Chesham and Amersham the Conservatives got 55.4 per cent in 2019, yet at last year’s byelection they lost it to the Lib Dems.

“Even if the Conservatives do win, a bad result would signal a real collapse of support. If that happens it could bring down the Prime Minister.”

Convention is that major parties do not stand when an MP has been killed, which is why Labour, the Lib Dems and Green Party are not putting up candidates against Conservative Anna Firth.

But eight other candidates will appear on the ballot - Christopher Anderson of the Freedom Alliance, Catherine Blaiklock of the English Democrats, independents Olga Childs and Jayda Fransen, the Heritage Party’s Ben Downton, UKIP’s Steve Laws, Graham Moore of the English Constitution Party, and the Psychedelic Movement’s Jason Pilley.

Mr Smithson predicted that UKIP were best-placed to cause a shock, as they have the greatest name recognition of all the minor parties.

He added: “There has been a 20 per cent swing from the Conservatives to Labour since the general election, whilst the Lib Dems came third in Southend West.

“Of course, they won’t be able to take advantage here as they’re not standing, but somebody else could. And even if the Conservatives do win the seat, it could still be seen as a loss for them.”

The Prime Minister is accused of breaking Covid lockdown rules set by his own Government, the most recent claim being a gathering for his birthday in June 2020.

Senior civil servant Sue Gray is carrying out an investigation, which had not been published at the time of the Echo going to press.