Greens and Plaid Cymru stand aside for anti-Brexit Liberal Democrats in key by-election
The Greens and Plaid Cymru will stand aside for the Liberal Democrats in a key by-election that could see the Conservatives’ parliamentary majority cut to just three.
The pro-EU parties confirmed they would form a pro-Remain alliance in Brecon and Radnorshire next month in what will be either Boris Johnson or Jeremy Hunt's first electoral test as Prime Minister.
The 1 August vote was triggered after more than 10,000 constituents backed a recall petition against incumbent MP Chris Davies - who won the seat for the Tories by 8,000 votes in 2017 - after he was convicted expenses fraud.
Plaid Cymru said it would actively endorse Jane Dodds, the Lib Dem candidate, in a bid to hand the seat to a party in favour of halting Brexit.
The Welsh nationalists’ leader, Adam Price, said the move was in the “best interests of Wales” and could lead to future pacts where his party could directly benefit.
“We’ve made a decision in this by-election to stand down in favour of the party that we jointly judge is in a better position to win,” he said.
“That’s the right thing to do. But we believe that that principle could be applied in other cases.”
Ms Dodds said the decision was “historic and courageous" and “in the interests of a “progressive cause”.
She tweeted: “In this by-election we are demanding better for local people and businesses, not just on Brexit (where farmers’ livelihoods are at serious risk) but on healthcare and vital rural services too.”
Mr Davies, who pleaded guilty to two counts of making false expenses claims after he attempted to split a £700 cost between two budgets with fake invoices, has been selected to stand again for the Conservatives.
A Labour spokesperson said: “It is extraordinary that Plaid Cymru - the so called Party of Wales - will not put up a candidate in a Welsh by-election.
“Plaid may have chosen to take Welsh nationalism off the ballot but there will absolutely be a Welsh socialist option with Tom Davies and Welsh Labour.”
But Lib Dem leadership candidate Jo Swinson said: "Plaid Cymru and The Green Party have taken a brave and principled decision to put the needs of the country ahead of their party political interest.
"I am incredibly grateful that they have given us the best chance of electing Jane Dodds to Parliament and adding another pro-Remain MP to the growing number who are campaigning for a People’s Vote.
"It is vital that pro-Remain parties continue to work together where possible to give us the best chance to stop Brexit."