Brecon and Radnorshire: Lib Dems beat Conservatives, reduce Johnson majority

The Liberal Democrats have won the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election, taking the seat from the Conservatives and leaving Prime Minister Boris Johnson with a wafer-thin parliamentary majority of just one.

Lib Dem candidate Jane Dodds overturned a majority of over 8,038 to defeat Conservative candidate Chris Davies, who was defending his Welsh seat after being found guilty of submitting a false expenses claim.

The Lib Dems’ victory in the early hours of Friday morning was helped by a “Remain alliance” in which other parties who want to stop Brexit agreed to stand aside and maximise the chances of a pro-Remain candidate winning.

Plaid Cymru and the Greens — who like the Lib Dems both support a new referendum on Brexit — did not field a candidate in Brecon and Radnorshire. This helped the Lib Dems increase its vote by 14.3%.

Read more: 5 things we learned from the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election

The Lib Dems, who last month chose Jo Swinson as its new leader, now has 13 Members of Parliament.

The result means the Conservative government is on the brink of losing its working majority, and that Jonson’s task of delivering Brexit on October 31 and passing other key pieces of legislation has become even harder.

Here is the result:

Liberal Democrats: 43.5% (+14.3)

Conservatives: 39.0% (-9.6)

The Brexit Party: 10.5% (+10.5)

Labour 5.3% (-12.5)

The Official Monster Raving Loony Party: 1.0% (+1.0)

UKIP: 0.8% (-0.6)

Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson.
Leon Neal/Getty Images

The result in Wales gave Johnson — who replaced Theresa May as prime minister late last month — the unhappy record of losing a by-election faster than any British prime minister since Herbert Henry Asquith in 1908.

His party was hurt by Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party, which received 10.5% of the vote.

It was a bad night for the Labour Party, which finished behind the Brexit Party in fourth place after losing 12.5% of its vote.

READ MORE: Senior MPs rubbish claim that Labour rebels would help Boris Johnson pass a Brexit deal

Speaking after her victory, Dodds said she was “incredibly humbled” and that her first mission in Parliament would be to stop Prime Minister Johnson taking the United Kingdom out of the European Union without a deal.

“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,” Dodds said.

Party 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.” Naomi Smith, CEO of anti-Brexit group Best For Britain, said the result “proves that when remain parties work together, they succeed.” She said: “While the Leave side has an inherent advantage in elections due to its vote being concentrated between only two parties whereas the pro-EU vote is split across at least four, working together can clearly help beat those odds. “More than 100,000 people have now signed our petition calling for these parties to work together. Now that we know it works, we will continue meeting internationalist MPs from all parties and use this model to prevent the Brexit extremists from getting a majority in the event of an election.”


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