Britain’s political parties will soon be fighting another by-election (special election) after Welsh Conservative Chris Davies was unseated by his own constituents in a recall petition, the second successful use of the removal mechanism ever.
Chris Davies, who represented the Brecon and Radnorshire constituency until today had pleaded guilty for submitting false expenses claims earlier this year. His conviction for the offence was followed by a recall petition which has now succeeded.
His seat had previously been held by the Liberal Democrats, who will particularly target the seat, despite Davies having secured a strong majority of 8,038 for the Conservatives in 2018. Their candidate for the forthcoming election said of the Davies: “Thousands of residents across Brecon and Radnorshire have taken the chance to demand better than a Westminster politics that fails to take their concerns seriously.
“Now we have a golden opportunity to do things differently. The clear choice in this by-election is between the Conservatives, whose chaos and infighting is letting our communities down, and a better future for our area with the Welsh Lib Dems.”
The Liberal Democrats have been enjoying a period of unusually high support given their position as the only major UK political party who campaign on a fully anti-Brexit, pro-European Union platform. Indeed, their European Union election campaign manifesto was titled ‘Bollocks to Brexit’.
The position of opposing Brexit is a minority opinion in the United Kingdom, however, and the only national political party fully supporting a full Brexit is enjoying even higher support — the Brexit Party. Nigel Farage’s new political force has been at the top of the Westminster general election polls for three weeks.
Brexit Party Chairman Richard Tice said of Davies’ removal by voters: “The sheer scale of the vote to force a recall and a by-election shows how strongly the level of dissatisfaction with politics in the country is rising up the agenda. The Brexit Party will be contesting the forthcoming by-election.
“It is clear that people of this county want to change politics for good.”
Pro-EU Criminal MP Ousted in Recall Petition, Brexit Party to Run for Seat https://t.co/QosfdPoSuW
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) May 2, 2019
The party may enjoy a boost in Brecon and Radnorshire, given the area voted to leave the European Union in the 2016 Brexit referendum, as did Wales as a whole. Nathan Gill, a Brexit Party Euro-MP for Wales said of the forthcoming special election: “This is a great opportunity for the people of Brecon and Radnorshire, who voted to Leave the EU in the 2016 Referendum and confirmed that vote in the recent European Elections where they voted overwhelmingly for the Brexit Party to elect a Brexit Party MP and make history.”
The 2015 recall law provides that if a tenth of the voters in an MP’s constituency sign a petition of removal, that member is forced to stand down. In Davies’ case, almost double that number signed the petition which was handed to local government auditors for verification and counting this week.
The last use of the recall was in Peterborough, where Labour’s pro-Europe Fiona Onasanya was convicted of perverting the course of justice and subsequently removed.