Vastavam web: Britain’s new Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s already slim parliamentary majority has been cut down further to just one with the loss of an MP to the anti-Brexit Liberal Democrat party in a by-election in Wales.In one of his first major election clashes since taking over from Theresa May last month, Johnson’s Conservative Party candidate lost the seat for the party in the Welsh constituency of Brecon and Radnorshire.
Liberal Democrat MP Jane Dodds overturned an 8,038 majority to beat incumbent Tory MP Chris Davies by 1,425 votes in results announced overnight on Thursday. It was the first electoral test for Johnson just eight days after becoming the prime minister. The by-election was a result of Davies being forced to stand again following a petition for him to be unseated after a conviction for a false expenses claim, which he had admitted to and fined for.
He was re-selected by the Tories to contest and win back the seat, showing confidence in him despite the mistake. However, the loss leaves the Conservatives in an even more precarious position, having to already rely on the 10 Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) MPs for a working majority in the House of Commons. May suffered repeatedly as a result of the slim majority and now her successor has the support of 320 MPs, including the DUP, while the Opposition parties have 319.
The new Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson called the latest win a “superb victory” as the party continues its campaign for a new referendum on Britain’s exit from the European Union (EU). Johnson won the Tory leadership contest with the pledge of taking the UK out of the 28-member economic bloc within the October 31 deadline, with or without a deal.
The deep divisions that exist on Brexit were laid bare in the by-election, which saw the Green Party and local Plaid Cymru backing the Liberal Demcocrats in an alliance by not fielding rival candidates in order to consolidate the anti-Brexit alliance. The Labour Party, which came in fourth after the Nigel Farage led Brexit Party, blamed voters switching tactically to the Liberal Democrats. The rather oddly named Monster Raving Loony Party managed to push the far-right UK Independence Party (UKIP) into sixth place.