'Are you crazy?': Boris Johnson refuses to resign despite key by-election defeats

'There was real shock': Political Correspondent Dan Hewitt gives an insight into the reaction within Boris Johnson's inner circle after Oliver Dowden's resignation

Before we departed for Rwanda on Wednesday night, the prime minister and his team had already started to get the excuses in for these by-election defeats: a government 12 years in power, a cost-of-living crisis, divided parties don’t win elections, a media too focused on partygate.

The plan was always to plough on regardless.

When asked if he’d resign before boarding the plane, Boris Johnson told us: “Are you crazy?"

'We will keep going'

The resignation of Tory chair Oliver Dowden though came as a shock here - the PM didn’t see that coming.

I’m told a senior member of his team was in the hotel swimming pool here in Kigali when he was told Mr Dowden had quit - Mr Johnson had himself just been for a swim.

Mr Dowden hadn’t indicated he’d resign, despite the fact he and Number 10 had accepted both by-elections were lost days ago.

Attention now turns to other members of the cabinet and their response, though a summer re-shuffle is very much on the cards.

We’re told there is no plan at this stage for the prime minister to cut short his week of foreign trips - from Rwanda he heads to Germany this weekend for the G7 and then Spain next week for NATO, not quite sure at this stage what he will return to.

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