Brecon by-election explained: Results times and what to expect in key clash

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Boris Johnson could be facing his first big defeat as Prime Minister with the Lib Dems on track to win a key byelection on Thursday.

Mr Johnson rushed to Wales ahead of the Brecon and Radnorshire election in a last-minute bid to see off defeat. 

But Mr Johnson’s No Deal threats could hand this Leave voting seat to the Lib Dems. 

Across rural Wales Mr Johnson faces a brutal backlash to his reckless approach to Europe, with Farmers’ Union of Wales warning of “civil unrest” following a No Deal Brexit . 

Welsh Lib Dem leader Jane Dodds is predicted to with the seat Thursday, winning back a constituency the partly lost in its near wipe-our results in 2015.

The party have ditched the brash “Bollocks to Brexit” slogan from their European election resurgence – but the campaign is still dominated by Europe.

Labour , who came a distant third in the seat in 2017 have seen their vote squeezed by the Lib Dem insurgency – with senior party officials worried they could lose their deposit. 

Mr Johnson’s last-minute visit was hoped to inject some energy into a nearly invisible Conservative campaign.

The Tory candidate Chris Davies is the disgraced ex-MP whose conviction for expenses fraud let to the recall petition that triggered the byelection.

Local campaigners believe that Davies was only selected to give the party an excuse should they lose the seat on Friday morning. 

But defeat here would send the Conservative majority to just one seat, just a week after Mr Johnson became PM.

So here is everything you need to know about the Brecon and Radnorshire byelection:

(Odds retrieved from Ladbrokes 30/07/2019)

When is the byelection?

It’s this Thursday

 

This Thursday, 1 August. Polls are open from 7am to 10pm

Why are we having a byelection?

The election was triggered after Tory MP Chris Davies was unseated by a petition that followed his conviction for a false expenses claim.

He is standing despite 19% of constituents signing the petition to oust him.

What are the big issues and who is on track to win?

Brexit Party bus ‘loses control’ while out and about in Wales

 

No Deal Brexit has been the dominating issue in this campaign – which is perhaps unexpected in a seat which saw 52% of people vote to leave.

But sheep outnumber people in the constituency, which is the size of Luxembourg, ten to one.

If Britain crashes out of the EU without a deal, tariffs on Welsh lamb sent to Europe will rise to 42% – potentially crippling farmers in a seat

The Farmers’ Union of Wales evened warned of potential “civil unrest” following a No Deal Brexit.

Otherwise, local issues around access to broadband, high street banks, and the impact of austerity have dominated the campaign.

A poll by Number Cruncher Politics says the Lib Dems will take the seat.

It puts the Lib Dems ahead of the Tories and Brexit Party in third. The Tories would drop 21% of the vote, according to the poll.

Who is standing?

Conservative Party

Odds of winning – 8/1

He triggered the by-election

Disagraced ex-MP Chris Davies, 51, who admitted falsifying documents on his expenses.

Davies conviction for expenses fraud led to the recall petition that triggered the byelection.

Local campaigners believe that Davies was only selected to give the party an excuse should they lose on Friday morning and rivals have accused him of hiding from the voters after it emerged he dodged two local hustings.

In March, Davies, 51, dodged jail and was fined £1,500 and ordered to carry out 50 hours’ community service after he admitted giving false information for his Westminster expenses – filing false invoices – to pay for photographs in his office.

The seat was won by the Tories at the last election, but Davies looks like he will struggle to retain it.

 Davies has apologised, saying: “If you look at the technicality here there was no financial gain.

“Clearly the authorities have been through my accounts and everything I’ve done with a fine-tooth comb over the last four years, and that was the only mistake they could find,” he added.

Labour Party

Labour are not expected to do very well in Brecon

 

Odds of winning – 100/1

Tom Davies, 29 is a local councillor.

Labour, who came a distant third in previous elections, have seen their vote squeezed by the Lib Dem insurgency – with senior party officials worried they could lose their deposit.

He old the Mirror that austerity, not just Brexit, were the defining issues in the election.

He added: “After a decade of cuts people are struggling.

“I met a woman working five jobs just to get by.

“And the Tories and Lib Dems don’t have the answers.”

Despite a tough campaign, which could see the party pushed into fourth by the Brexit Party, Mr Davies has said there was “clearly an appetite for Labour in Brecon and Radnorshire and a socialist option on the ballot”.

“It is a four-way split and if enough people don’t just vote to keep the Tories out but for what we want then we could wind this.”

Liberal Democrats

Odds of winning – 1/16

Jane Dodds is odds-on to win the seat

Welsh Lib Dem leader Jane Dodds, 55, is a child-protection social worker.

Her campaign are quietly confident that they will win back this seat – which was previoulsy held by the Lib Dems in before 2015.

“To voters here Westminster can feel a million miles away,” Ms Dodds told the Mirror.

“They don’t feel listend to and No Deal is just part of that”. 

Her route to victory was made easier after the decision by both Plaid Cymru and the Greens not to stand against their candidates rival Remain party.

The LibDems have ditched the brash “Bollocks to Brexit” slogan from their European election resurgence – but the campaign is still dominated by Europe.

Ms Dodds added: “ Boris Johnson has made a last-minute dash from the ivory tower of Westminster to talk to people here.

“He thinks that is going to work. It isn’t.

“A No Deal Brexit is playing with people’s lives and livelihoods.”

Beyond Brexit Ms Dodds said her priorities are making sure the local areas “has basic services, such as banks and good broadband”.

“It’s about supporting our farmers and our agriculture – that we have good services and we have the opportunity for our children and young people to remain in mid-Wales through affordable housing and through good well-paid jobs,” she added.

Brexit Party

Odds of winning – 50/1


Des Parkinson, 71,  a retired Dyfed-Powys Police chief superintendent.

Polls suggest the party might pull off an unexpected third-place finish – pushing Labour into fourth.

Mr Parkinson is opposed to the withdrawal agreement made by former prime minister Theresa May .

He told BBC Wales it was “disastrous” and the “worst deal in British history where we would give £39bn to the EU and get nothing in return, other than more uncertainty”.

When will we get the results?

With such a large constituency it is difficult to know – but results are expected early Friday morning.



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