Will Remain parties unite for the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election?

PUBLISHED: 12:27 21 June 2019 | UPDATED: 13:47 21 June 2019

Tory MP Chris Davies. Photograph: Victoria Jones/PA Wire.

Tory MP Chris Davies. Photograph: Victoria Jones/PA Wire.

A by-election has been called in Tory MP Chris Davies' seat of Brecon and Radnorshire in Wales - where the Liberal Democrats came second last time.

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But will the Remain parties rally behind the Lib Dem candidate to hand a another blow to the Tories' parliamentary majority, or will plans for a unity candidate fall apart like in Peterborough?

Davies was convicted for faking expenses claims after submitting two false expenses invoices for landscape photographs to decorate his new office.

Some 10,005 people signed the petition, well above the 10% threshold - 5,303 people - needed for a recall.

Davies has been MP for Brecon and Radnorshire since the 2015 general election, where he beat incumbent Liberal Democrat Roger Williams with the constituency's largest majority since 1983.

With no date set for the by-election the volatility of the Tory vote is likely to prove a headache for the new Conservative Party leader, with the expectation it will take place after their election, but it could prove problematic for Remain parties too.

In 2017, the Tories held a majority of more than 8,000 in the constituency, but this could easily be overturned in the current political climate.

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The Lib Dems have been riding high in the opinion polls since their success in the European elections, while the Tories have been battling with the rise in popularity of the Brexit Party.

Moreover, the EU referendum in 2016 the constituency voted narrowly by 51.86% to Leave with 48.14% backing Remain, in a country that appears to be moving away from its support for Brexit.

The existing leader of the Lib Dems Sir Vince Cable has previously said he is open to the party collaborating efforts with other anti-Brexit parties, while leadership favourite Jo Swinson has indicated she would welcome pacts, if it meant achieving the goal of stopping Brexit.

With Labour in a distant third place in 2017 with 7,335 votes, and Plaid Cymru at just 1,299 votes, it surely makes sense for the Lib Dems, Change UK, Plaid and the Greens to collaborate their efforts?

Welsh nationalist party Plaid Cymru have hinted that they could work with a Remain candidate to end the "two-party status quo" in Westminster.

A statement claimed: "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."

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