Two council by-elections on Thursday (following a City of London by-election on Tuesday), but the headlines will be dominated by Jane Dodds and her fabulous victory in the Parliamentary by-election in Wales.
Brecon and Radnorshire Parliamentary by-election
Triggered by a recall petition after the incumbent Conservative MP Chris Davies was found to have forged invoices and broken the law, the by-election saw Jane Dodds run for the Liberal Democrats, attempting to win back a seat the party had previously held.
And she is now the newest Lib Dem MP:
The closeness of the result highlights the benefits of the decisions by the Greens and Plaid to back the Liberal Democrats in a proto-Remain Alliance. That may turn out to be an important pointer for the future, especially as Conservative supporters will look at that result and think, ‘if only the Leave vote hadn’t been split with the Brexit Party…’. Indeed, there had been a significant consolidation of Leave voters behind the Conservative candidate compared with the poll earlier in the campaign – but not enough, this time at least, to win.
Although this result has some similarities with the previous Liberal Democrat Parliamentary by-election win in Richmond Park – former Lib Dem seat, won back off the Conservatives in a by-election – it has one major difference. Richmond Park was Remainer Central, with the 31st highest Remain vote in the referendum. Brecon and Radnorshire, by contrast, was down at number 273.
If the Liberal Democrats can win here, there are an awful lot of other seats the party can win too.
Brecon and Radnorshire is now the scene of two major by-election victories for the Liberal Democrats and its predecessors, having been won by Richard Livsey for the Liberal Party / Alliance in the 1985 by-election too.
Speaking from the by-election count, Jane Dodds said:
34 years ago last month, Richard Livsey’s victory in a by-election here sparked a Liberal revival across Wales and the UK. And today, we’ve done it again.
I am incredibly humbled by the support. From every walk of life and every political persuasion, people have chosen to believe in my positive liberal vision for something better.
And by backing that liberal vision, people in Brecon and Radnorshire have sent a powerful message to Westminster; we demand better.
Leader of the Liberal Democrats Jo Swinson added:
The Liberal Democrats are winning again, and this latest victory gives hope for a better future for Britain. The people of Brecon and Radnorshire have shown that the country doesn’t have to settle for Boris Johnson or Jeremy Corbyn.
Boris Johnson’s shrinking majority makes it clear that he has no mandate to crash us out of the EU. As Leader of the Liberal Democrats, I will do whatever it takes to stop Brexit and offer an alternative, positive vision for a richer, greener and safer future. Britain demands better than what the tired old parties can give.
Jane Dodds will be a fantastic MP, and will campaign tirelessly for a better deal for rural communities, after years of neglect by the Conservatives.
We are thankful to Plaid Cymru and the Green Party for putting the national interest first and not contesting this by-election. We now have one more MP who will vote against Brexit in Parliament.
Godmanchester and Hemingford Abbots, Huntingdonshire
Sarah Wilson was defending this Lib Dem held seat, and did so successfully:
Hazel Grove, Stockport
Charles Gibson was defending this seat for the Liberal Democrats and is now the new councillor:
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These by-election results round-ups cover principal authority by-elections. See my post The danger in celebrating parish and town council wins for your own party for the reasons to avoid straying too often into covering town, parish or community council by-elections.
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