The Liberal Democrat “Remain alliance” candidate Jane Dodds has won the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election, reducing the Conservative working majority to just one.
Dodds overturned a 8,038 majority to beat incumbent Conservative Chris Davies by 1,425 votes, with the support of both the Greens and Plaid Cymru, who decided not to field their own candidates and instead support Dodds as part of a “Remain alliance”.
After her victory was announced, Dodds commented: “The people of this constituency have chosen hope over fear. We demand better.
“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’.”
In the wake of the result, which sees the Lib Dems increase their number of MPs to 16, party leader Jo Swinson said: “Boris Johnson’s shrinking majority makes it clear that he has no mandate to crash us out of the EU.”
The by-election was called after Davies was recalled by petition, the second MP to face such action, after he was convicted of filing a false expenses claim in March.
Coming just eight days after Boris Johnson was appointed Prime Minister by Conservative Party members, the contest is being viewed as a test of his electability. Tories hoped that Johnson could unite the country behind his plans for a hard or no-deal Brexit, but the Lib Dem victory demonstrates the tough road ahead for the PM, whose working majority with DUP support is now just a single MP.
The result is the quickest by-election loss for any new prime minister since the Second World War.
The result was also a poor showing for Labour, which chose not to join the Remain alliance and as a result saw its vote share drop by 12.4%, with the party beaten into fourth place by Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party.