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Tue, 19 January 2021

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By Alice Lilly
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Tories re-select convicted expenses cheat Chris Davies to fight by-election

Tories re-select convicted expenses cheat Chris Davies to fight by-election
3 min read

The Conservatives have re-selected Chris Davies to defend the seat he was ousted from following an expenses conviction.


The Welsh Tory was booted out of his Brecon and Radnorshire seat on Friday after over 10,000 of his constituents signed a recall petition to trigger a by-election.

He pleaded guilty in March to two counts of making false expenses claims after he attempted to split a £700 cost between two budgets with fake invoices.

But on Sunday, local party members confirmed they had re-selected Mr Davies to defend the seat which he won from the Lib Dems in 2015.

Mr Davies, who was fined £1,500 and ordered to carry out 50 hours community service for the offence, said he was the "right choice" for the party.

"I would like to thank members of my local association for supporting me, and putting their faith in me once again," he said.

"I look forward to campaigning over the next few weeks and winning back this seat, so that I can continue to work hard for the people for Brecon and Radnorshire.

"A lot has been achieved over the past four years, but there is so much more to do and I am the right person to do it."

The Liberal Democrats, Labour and the Brexit Party are all expected to contest the seat, which is likely to be a major first test for the next Conservative leader.

But Labour chair Ian Lavery said the re-selection of Mr Davies showed "contempt" for voters in the seat.

"Selecting the same man who voters sacked because he was convicted for fiddling his expenses shows the Tories' contempt for the people of our country," he said.

"The two candidates vying to be the next Prime Minister have failed this early test of leadership, and proved again that the Conservative Party is in chaos.

"We don't just need a by election in Brecon and Radnorshire, we need a General Election and a Labour government."

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.

Peterborough's former Labour MP Fiona Onasanya was the first parliamentarian to lose their seat through the procedure after she was convicted of lying to police about a speeding charge and was handed a three month jail sentence.

Peter Weavers, chairman of the Welsh association, said: "Chris is local, he knows the area, he knows the constituents, knows the issues and problems we face, and that matters.

"Chris is not simply a one-issue wannabe politician, as his record shows. He has our full backing."

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