The Liberal Democrats have won the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election, reducing the government’s working majority in Parliament to just one.
Lib Dems’ leader in Wales, Jane Dodds won the seat for the mid-Wales constituency with 43.5%, ahead of former Conservative MP Chris Davies on 39%. The Brexit Party came in thrid place with 10.5% of the vote, followed by Labour with just 5.3%. The Monster Raving Looney Party received 1.0% of the vote, and UKIP received just 0.8%.
Following her victory, Ms Dodds said;
‘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,’
‘So my very first act as your MP when I arrive in Westminster will be to find Mr Boris Johnson wherever he is hiding and tell him loud and clear: “Stop playing with the future of our communities and rule out a no-deal Brexit now”.’
A by-election (or early election for seat) was triggered following Mr Davies’ conviction of submitting false expenses. He pleaded guilty in March to submitting false expenses invoices for photographs to decorate his new office, following which a recall petition was launched and was signed by around 19% of the electorate in the constituency, above the 10% needed to trigger a by-election. Despite this, the Conservatives decided to back Mr Davies to try to win back the seat again.
The Tory loss is Boris Johnson’s first major defeat as PM. The working majority in the House of Commons for the government has now been reduced to just one. Mr Johnson now has the support of 319 MPs, including DUP MPs, while opposition parties have 318.
The change in numbers in Parliament, while only small, could cause large problems for Mr Johnson as he attempts to push a Brexit resolution through Parliament in the coming months. The result could also increase the chances of a snap general-election.