2019 Brecon and Radnorshire by-election
Brecon and Radnorshire constituency
Brecon and Radnorshire constituency within Wales
A by-election will be held in the UK Parliament constituency of Brecon and Radnorshire on 1 August 2019 following the successful recall petition for the dismissal of Chris Davies, who had held the seat for the Conservatives since the 2015 general election.
Richard Livsey, a Liberal standing for the SDP–Liberal Alliance, won the seat in the 1985 Brecon and Radnor by-election and retained it in 1987. He lost it narrowly as a Liberal Democrat MP to the Conservative Jonathan Evans in the 1992 general election. The Liberal Democrats regained the seat in the 1997 election and held it until 2015, when Chris Davies won it for the Conservatives. Davies retained his seat at the 2017 general election with an increased majority of 8,038 over the Liberal Democrat candidate.
In February 2019, Davies was charged with false expenses claims, pursuant to the Parliamentary Standards Act 2009. He pleaded guilty in March and, in April, was sentenced to a community order of 50 hours unpaid work and a £1,500 fine. Under the Recall of MPs Act 2015, this conviction triggered a recall petition. After receiving notice from the sentencing court, the Speaker of the House of Commons indicated on 24 April 2019 that he would be instructing the constituency's petition officer to begin the recall process. The petition opened on 9 May and remained open for signatures until 20 June 2019. It required 5,303 signatures (10% of eligible voters) to be successful.
This petition was successful, receiving 10,005 signatures (19%), significantly in excess of the 10% of constituents required. Davies was removed from the seat, creating a vacancy to be filled at a by-election, in which he is permitted to stand.
The by-election will occur shortly after the winner of the 2019 Conservative leadership election becomes Prime Minister and the winner of the 2019 Liberal Democrats leadership election takes office. Should an opposition party win the seat, the working majority of the government (including confidence and supply from the DUP) in the House of Commons would be reduced to three.
The by-election comes against the continuing backdrop of Brexit. The constituency lies within the county of Powys, where, at the 2019 European Parliament election, the Brexit Party gained the most votes.
It will be the first Westminster by-election to take place in the month of August since the second Fermanagh and South Tyrone by-election of 1981.
Candidates and campaign
|Liberal Democrat||Jane Dodds|
|Brexit Party||Des Parkinson||N/A|
|Monster Raving Loony||Lady Lily The Pink||N/A|
Davies wished to stand for re-election as the Conservative Party candidate and was chosen by the local party. The Liberal Democrat candidate is Jane Dodds, the leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats. The Labour Party candidate is Brecon town councillor Tom Davies. The Brexit Party candidate is retired police chief superintendent Des Parkinson, who previously stood in Montgomeryshire as a UK Independence Party (UKIP) candidate for election to the UK parliament in May 2015, to the Welsh Assembly in May 2016, and as Dyfed-Powys Police and Crime Commissioner, also in May 2016.
Dodds, the Liberal Democrat candidate, is also supported by Plaid Cymru, the Greens, Change UK and the Renew Party. Plaid Cymru first indicated that it might not stand a candidate in order to support another party supporting a second referendum on Brexit. Change UK called for an independent joint remain candidate in a letter to the Liberal Democrats, Plaid and the Greens. Plaid and Change UK subsequently confirmed that they were in talks with other Remain-supporting parties. Plaid Cymru decided not to put up a candidate, and to instead support Dodds. The Green Party also chose not to stand a candidate, in order to "maximise the chances of the candidate most likely to beat the Conservatives and the Brexit Party." The Renew Party likewise chose not to stand a candidate for the same reason.
Shortly after the result of the recall petition was announced, bookmakers made the Liberal Democrats odds-on favourites to win.
|Liberal Democrat||James Gibson-Watt||12,043||29.1||+0.8|
|Plaid Cymru||Kate Heneghan||1,299||3.1||-1.3|
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