Convicted Tory MP Chris Davies booted from Brecon and Radnorshire seat after recall petition passes
A Tory MP convicted of expenses fraud has been ousted from his Commons seat after thousands of his constituents backed a recall petition.
More than 10,000 voters in Chris Davies's Brecon and Radnorshire seat backed the move, smashing the required 5,303 voters.
It means there will now be a by-election in the seat, which he won from the Lib Dems in 2015 and then retained by 8,000 votes two years later.
He pleaded guilty in March to two counts of making false expenses claims, allowing the recall process to be launched.
Mr Davies is the second MP to be forced from their seat as a result of the recall procedures brought in in 2016, whereby a by-election is triggered if 10% of registered voters in a constituency sign an organised petition.
But in a statement issued following the recall petition, Mr Davies vowed to fight to keep his seat in the by-election.
He said: "I am naturally disappointed with the result. What happened was my fault and no one else's.
"I sincerely apologise to all the people of Brecon and Radnorshire - and now it is absolutely right they they have their say about whether they would still support me to be their Member of Parliament in a by-election.
"I hope they do, and look forward to regaining their trust and building on the process we have made over the last four years.
"Finally I would like to say thank you for the many, many messages of support I have received and I look forward to campaigning in the coming weeks."
Mr Davies admitted that in March 2016 he made a claim under the MPs' allowances scheme and provided an invoice that he knew to be "false or misleading".
The second charge was attempting to provide false or misleading information for an allowance claim using an invoice "that he knew to be false or misleading" in April 2016.
Peterborough's former Labour MP Fiona Onasanya was the first parliamentarian to lose their seat through the procedures after she was convicted of lying to police about a speeding charge and was handed a three month jail sentence.
The Lib Dems have already been installed as odds-on favourites for the upcoming by-election, and the party's candidate, Jane Dodds, said: "Thousands of residents across Brecon and Radnorshire have taken the chance to demand better than a Westminster politics that fails to take their concerns seriously.
"Now we have a golden opportunity to do things differently. The clear choice in this by-election is between the Conservatives, whose chaos and infighting is letting our communities down, and a better future for our arena with the Welsh Lib Dems."
In a boost for the Lib Dems, Plaid Cymru dropped a strong hint that they will not stand a candidate in an attempt to bolster the pro-second referendum vote.
A spokesperson for the party said: "The two-party status quo in Westminster is breaking down. In last month’s European elections many voters broke the habit of a lifetime by choosing to back pro-People’s Vote parties, rather than the Conservatives or Labour.
"Ensuring those of us who want to see a fresh referendum work together, at every possible level, to deliver this aim is crucial. We will explore options for how we can work together, across party lines, to deliver this in the upcoming Brecon and Radnorshire by-election.."