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Thu, 13 August 2020

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Blow for Boris Johnson as Lib Dems beat Tories in Brecon and Radnorshire by-election

Blow for Boris Johnson as Lib Dems beat Tories in Brecon and Radnorshire by-election
3 min read

The Liberal Democrats have won the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election, reducing the Tories' majority in the House of Commons to just one.


Jane Dodds saw off the challenge of Conservative candidate Chris Davies to win the closely-fought contest by 1,425 votes.

The result is a major blow for Boris Johnson barely a week after he became Prime Minister, and will make it even harder for him to get any legislation, including a revamped Brexit deal, through Parliament.

The by-election was called after Mr Davies - who won the seat by 8,038 votes at the 2017 general election - was booted out in June after being convicted of expenses fraud.

Nearly 20% of registered voters in the South Wales seat signed a recall petition saying they wanted him removed from the Commons.

Ms Dodds received 13,826 votes, with Mr Davies - who was chosen again as the Tory candidate - polling 12,401.

The Brexit Party came third on 3,331, with Labour a disappointing fourth place with 1,680 votes.

Speaking after the result was announced at around 2.30 on Friday morning, Welsh Lib Dem leader Ms Dodds said: "34 years ago last month, Richard Livsey’s victory in a by-election here sparked a Liberal revival across Wales and the UK. And today, we’ve done it again.

 "I am incredibly humbled by the support. From every walk of life and every political persuasion, people have chosen to believe in my positive liberal vision for something better.

"And by backing that liberal vision, people in Brecon and Radnorshire have sent a powerful message to Westminster: we demand better."

She added: "This victory must be a turning point, not just for our communities here in Brecon and Radnorshire, but for the whole country too.

"People are desperately crying out for a different kind of politics. "There is no time for tribalism when our country is faced with a Boris Johnson government and the threat of a no-deal Brexit.

"My very first act as your MP when I arrive in Westminster will be to find Boris Johnson, wherever he’s hiding, and tell him loud and clear -  stop playing with the futures of our communities and rule out a no-deal Brexit."
 
Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson said: “The Liberal Democrats are winning again, and this latest victory gives hope for a better future for Britain. The people of Brecon and Radnorshire have shown that the country doesn’t have to settle for Boris Johnson or Jeremy Corbyn.

"Boris Johnson’s shrinking majority makes it clear that he has no mandate to crash us out of the EU. I will do whatever it takes to stop Brexit and offer an alternative, positive vision for a richer, greener and safer future. Britain demands better than what the tired old parties can give.

"Jane Dodds will be a fantastic MP, and will campaign tirelessly for a better deal for rural communities, after years of neglect by the Conservatives."

The Lib Dems' chances of success were boosted when Plaid Cymru and the Greens announced they would not be standing a candidate as part of an anti-Brexit alliance to beat the Conservatives.

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