Thursday 25 July 2019


One week today voters go to the polls in the mid-Wales seat of Brecon and Radnorshire.  The by-election was forced by the successful recall petition against incumbent Tory MP Chris Davies.  Davies had been convicted of false expenses claims and was brought down by 19% of his constituents, almost double the required 10% threshold.  Earlier this year Fiona Onasanya became the first MP to be sacked by recall petition, receiving 28%.

To further compound his disgrace, Davies sought re-selection as the Tory candidate.  Astonishingly the local Conservative association agreed to give him another chance and he was duly re-selected for the August 1st by-election.  With the Lib Dems chasing the seat and having made an electoral pact with other Remain parties this cowardly act could potentially have devastating implications for the Parliamentary arithmetic on Brexit.  By re-selecting the disgraced Davies the Tories have surrendered the constituency, ensuring that the Remainers gain another vote in Parliament, effectively two votes because there will be one less Brexiteer (Davies was a member of the ERG).

Davies currently holds an 8,000 majority, but historically the seat has been a close fought contest between the Tories and Liberals and has flip-flopped between the two parties over the last 40 years.  However, this time around the Lib-Dems have huge advantages.  Firstly, and most importantly, they are up against a disgraced incumbent.  Secondly, they have made a pact to ensure that other Remain parties are not standing in this election (no Plaid Cymru or Greens).  Thirdly, the presence of the Brexit Party will split the remaining Tory vote and hand Brecon to them on a plate.

The chances of the Brexit Party coming through the middle and surprising everybody to actually win the seat are slim.  It's not a big Leave seat (like Peterborough, remember), returning a 52% Leave vote in 2016.  Labour won't get a look in here and could potentially finish fourth.

Brecon & Radnorshire by-election candidates

Chris Davies (Con)
Tom Davies (Lab)
Jane Dodds (LD)
Des Parkinson (Brexit)
Liz Phillips (UKIP)
Lady Lily Pink (Loony)

2017 General Election result

Chris Davies (Con) 20,081
James Gibson-Watt (LD) 12,043
Dan Lodge (Lab) 7,335
Kate Heneghan (Plaid) 1,299
Peter Gilbert (UKIP) 576