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The politics professor from the University of Strathclyde gave the damning analysis after the Conservatives lost two seats in Yorkshire and Devon. In Tiverton and Honiton, the Liberal Democrats overturned a 24,000 Tory majority to win, while Labour reclaimed Wakefield with a 12.7 percent swing.

Sir John said the size of vote change in the seat in the south of England would leave the Conservatives virtually eradicated if replicated nationwide at a general election.

“As many as 333 Tory MPs could lose their seat if they suffered the 29.9 percent swing from Conservative to Liberal Democrat registered in Tiverton and Honiton,” he wrote in a newspaper this morning.

The Conservatives currently have 359 MPs. Such a dramatic swing would leave the Tories with fewer parliamentarians than the SNP currently have.

But, adding a disclaimer, Sir John wrote in The Times: “By-elections provide an exaggerated picture of a government’s mid-term electoral problems.

“The swings registered in the two by-elections would not necessarily have occurred in a general election on Thursday.”

The fallout over the so-called PartyGate saga and the cost of living crisis are both understood to have contributed to the losses.

Sir John said many voters held Mr Johnson personally responsible and were now willing to do whatever necessary to oust the Tories.

He wrote: “Mr Johnson’s problem is not simply that his party has lost support.

“Rather, many opposition voters are now seemingly willing to vote for whichever candidate seems best able to defeat the Conservatives locally.

“And if that continues winning the next general election could begin to look a lot more difficult.”

Speaking this morning, the Prime Minister vowed to “listen” to voters to win back their trust after the “tough” by-election losses.

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,” he said at a conference centre in Kigali.

“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.”

The Prime Minister has ruled out resigning, saying such a move would be “crazy”.

Asked about what he would do if the Tories lost both seats, Mr Johnson said yesterday: “Come on, it was only a year ago that we won the Hartlepool by-election, which everybody thought was – you know, we hadn’t won Hartlepool for – I can’t remember when the Tory Party last won Hartlepool…a long time.

“I don’t think it ever had.”