But he appeared to shy away from the didactic approach often associated with environmental protest groups.

Asked why he isn’t a vegetarian, he said: “I think there’s a lot more low-hanging fruit for tackling climate change than trying to change every aspect of people’s behaviour. Tackling climate change and doing better by young people are probably my biggest two personal-political passions.”

The former London councillor is also an amateur footballer who once punched the air so hard while cheering England on in the Euros that he dislocated his shoulder and had to dash to A&E, according to the Politico website.

Britain’s foremost polling guru Professor Sir John Curtice warned of impending panic in Tory ranks as Labour seized Mid Bedfordshire, a seat held by the Conservatives since 1931.

He said the Tories’ twin losses on Thursday constituted one of the worst nights for a government in mid-term history, with echoes of the defeats that preceded Sir Tony Blair’s landslide victory in 1997.

Shadow science minister Peter Kyle, who led Labour’s campaign in Mid Bedfordshire, said there was no precedent or reference point for the win, adding: “I don’t think 1992 goes back far enough.”

In his victory speech, Mr Strathern said: “Tonight residents across Mid Bedfordshire have made history, after decades of being taken for granted, feeling left behind, being under-represented, they made a decision it was time for a change.

“Nowhere is off limits for this Labour Party and tonight’s result proves it.”

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