Boris Johnson has vowed to "keep going" after a double by-election loss for the Conservatives saw them lose seats to the Liberal Democrats and Labour.

The Prime Minister acknowledged on Friday (June 24) that losing the former Tory stronghold of Tiverton and Honiton to the Lib Dems as well as surrendering Wakefield to Labour was “tough”, but he insisted he was pushing on, and vowed to “listen” to voters.

Conservative Party co-chairman Oliver Dowden quit after the results were announced, saying he and Tory supporters are “distressed and disappointed by recent events”, telling Mr Johnson that “someone must take responsibility”.

Mr Johnson, speaking to broadcasters 4,000 miles away in Rwanda, where he is at a Commonwealth summit, thanked Mr Dowden for his “excellent” service in the role.

Bury Times: Conservative party co-chairman Oliver Dowden quit after the by-election losses (PA)Conservative party co-chairman Oliver Dowden quit after the by-election losses (PA)

The Prime Minister said he would take responsibility, but stressed the cost-of-living crisis was the most important thing for voters, saying it is “true that in mid-term governments post-war lose by-elections”.

At the conference in Kigali he said: "“It’s absolutely true we’ve had some tough by-election results, they’ve been, I think, a reflection of a lot of things, but we’ve got to recognise voters are going through a tough time at the moment.

“I think as a Government I’ve got to listen to what people are saying – in particular to the difficulties people are facing over the cost of living, which I think for most people is the number one issue.

“We’re now facing pressures on the cost of living, we’re seeing spikes in fuel prices, energy costs, food costs – that’s hitting people.

“We’ve got to recognise there is more we’ve got to do and we certainly will, we will keep going addressing the concerns of people until we get through this patch.”

In an interview with Channel 4 News, Mr Johnson insisted: “I, of course, take responsibility for the electoral performance of the Government.”

In the rural Devon constituency of Tiverton and Honiton, the Liberal Democrats overturned a 24,000 Tory majority to win, while Labour reclaimed Wakefield.