by Hallum Cowell
A by-election will be held in Brecon and Radnorshire after a petition by his constituents unseated him on Friday. 10% of the former MP’s constituents were required to sign the petition for it to be successful, it was announced on Friday that 19% had added their names.
This is the first time a Welsh MP has been removed by this method and only the second time in the UK since it was introduced in 2015.
The successful attempt to remove Mr Davies from office comes after he was found guilty of a false expenses claim to the value of £700. The MP was charge with a fine of £1500 and 50 hours of community service. Mr Davies has confirmed that he will be running in the upcoming by-election in a recent BBC Wales interview, stating that he “looked forward to regaining voters’ trust”. Mr Davies will run as the Conservative Party’s candidate in the by-election after a vote by the Brecon & Radnorshire Conservative Party Association.
Leadership candidate Jeremy Hunt commented on the events “Whatever the rights and wrongs of his expenses claim, I have only ever known Chris Davies as a decent and honest man and a very diligent local MP”.
Opposition parties were quick to comment and launch their campaigns for the constituency. Welsh Labour have selected Tom Davies, with an official spokesperson calling the situation “a mess of [Chris Davies’] making”, whilst the Liberal Democrats have chosen Jane Dodds, the party’s leader in Wales, who told the BBC that: “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”.
The Brexit Party won the Brecon and Radnorshire locality during the European Elections and are also planning to field a candidate in the by-election. Also talking to the BBC, the Brexit Party’s chairman Richard Tice said: “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”.
When speaking to the BBC, the leader of Plaid Cymru, Adam Price suggested that his party would be willing to ally with other pro-remain parties and made the following comment: “This will likely be a crucial first test for the incoming Conservative Prime Minister. The two-party status quo in Westminster is breaking down. In last month’s European elections many voters broke the habit of a lifetime by choosing to back pro-People’s Vote parties, rather than the Conservatives or Labour. Ensuring those of us who want to see a fresh referendum work together, at every possible level, to deliver this aim is crucial.
We will explore options for how we can work together, across party lines, to deliver this in the upcoming Brecon and Radnorshire by-election.”
Despite initial reports, the writ was not moved today to formerly trigger the by-election, due to a “returning officer issue”. The date of the by-election is not yet known.