UK's Boris Johnson faces test in two special elections

LONDON (AP) — Polls opened Thursday in Britain for two special elections that could deliver a new blow to

Wakefield in northern England and the southwestern constituency of Tiverton and Honiton are both electing replacements for Conservative lawmakers who resigned in disgrace. One was convicted of sexual assault; the other was caught looking at pornography in the House of Commons chamber — an episode he explained by saying he was searching for pictures of tractors on his phone.

Defeat in either district would be a setback for the prime minister's party. Losing both would increase jitters among restive Conservatives who already worry the is no longer an electoral asset.

“For the Conservatives to lose one by-election on Thursday might be regarded as unfortunate,” polling expert John Curtice of the University of Strathclyde wrote in the Independent newspaper. “However, to lose two might look like much more than carelessness – but a sign of a government that is at risk of losing its electoral footing.”