Pro-remain parties unite to fight Wales by-election 

Pro-remain parties unite to fight Wales by-election 

The anti-Brexit, Welsh nationalist party, Plaid Cymru, has announced it will not stand in the August 1 Brecon and Radnorshire by-election, instead backing the Liberal Democrats in the race.

The pro-EU Green Party is also not standing a candidate to maximise the chances of a pro-remain party winning the seat. 

The Liberal Democrat candidate Jane Dodds described the move as a ‘“historic and courageous decision” in the interests of opposing Brexit.

The Brecon and Radnorshire by-election was triggered after more than 100,000 constituents signed a petition to remove the Conservative MP, Chris Davies. He said he would stand again in the by-election.

The Welsh Labour candidate, Tom Davies, called Plaid Cymru’s decision ”extraordinary”. 

A defeat would reduce the incoming prime minister’s working majority to three MPs, helping undermine all their pledges to deliver any form of Brexit. 

The by-election will be the first electoral test for either Boris Johnson or Jeremy Hunt as prime minister.

Outgoing Lib Dem leader Sir Vince Cable said victory would show the new prime minister that “the Conservative Party is in desperate trouble”.

Cable said he hoped the agreement would open the way for co-operation at future elections in a “remain alliance”. The lack of any remain alliance has hampered anti-Brexit parties in almost all post-2016 elections, with minor exceptions like a Green-Lib Dem pact in South Oxfordshire that proved a resounding success. 

Adam Price, the leader of Plaid Cymru, said the party was endorsing the Lib Dems because stopping Brexit was in the “best interests of Wales”. He suggested the Lib Dems could stand aside for his party in other constituencies. 

“We’ve made a decision in this by-election to stand down in favour of the party that we jointly judge is in a better position to win,” Price said. “That’s the right thing to do. But we believe that that principle could be applied in other cases.”

The Conservative vote in the rural southern Welsh constituency might be split with Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party.

The Conservatives won the seat from the Lib Dems in 2015 with a majority of 5,102 that increased to 8,038 in the 2017 election. The Lib Dems hold the corresponding seat in the Welsh regional assembly and have been targeting the seat for months.

The current Conservative MP, Chris Davies, 51, was recalled by his constituents for false expenses claims after he was convicted in March for submitting two false invoices totalling £700 for nine photographs for his office.

Davies was fined £1,500, told to pay £2,500 in legal fees and given 50 hours of community service for breaching the Parliamentary Standards Act. He was surprisingly chosen to fight the seat again for the Conservatives in the by-election.

The Brexit Party will try to secure its first MP. 

 

A majority of voters in Wales appear to have shifted away from Brexit. Picture credit: Eurasia Times 

 

 

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