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Could the Tories just hang on in Brecon & Radnorshire?

July 30th, 2019

PM Johnson has been in Wales today and spent an hour or so in ‘Brecon and Radnorshire where the Tories are defending a 19.5% majority in the by-election on Thursday. This is a critical one for him and his government  because losing the seat would cuts down the effective CON majority with the DUP to just one.

Being beaten in a by-election with a majority this size just eight days after entering Number 10 would undermine the generally positive narrative Boris has created.

The vacancy was caused by a successful recall petition on the Tory who won it at GE2015, Chris Davies. This followed his criminal conviction for expense fraud.

The Greens and Plaid have both stood aside for the LDs to ensure that there is only one pro-Remain contender. The seat voted roughly 52-48 for leave at the referendum. As per usual the LDs are working hard to squeeze the LAB vote which was 17.7% last time.

There’s little doubt that the Tories have been throwing everything into the defence and I am less confident than I was that the LDs will win back the seat.

Someone I know was canvassing for the Tories at the weekend and told me that Davies is remarkably popular. There’s also a very high level of interest and I’d expect good turnout by by-election standards.

I think TSE’s bet, rating this as about a 4% chance for the Tories, is value.

Mike Smithson