As predicted the Lib Dems won the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election, slashing the Tory and DUP majority down to just one in the House of Commons. But is it enough to interfere with the Tory Brexit plans?

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Last night the Lib Dems managed to win the Brecon and Radnorshire seat from the Tories with a majority of 1,425, which means that the squeakily narrow majority of two that the Tories had with the help of the DUP has become the bare minimum of one.

The full results are:

Brecon and Radnorshire by election result table 2019Speaking on the BBC Breakfast show this morning, the Tory party chairman and MP for Braintree, James Cleverly, said it was a disappointing result but crucially that it would not deflect the government from its aim of getting the UK out of the EU by October the 31st and he said:

"Whether it's a majority of one, two or three is largely irrelevant, because the house has comprehensively rejected the Withdrawal Agreement."

Now a lot is being made of the decision by the Greens and Plaid to stand aside to allow the Lib Dems to soak up the anti-Brexit vote.

And looking back at 2017 when the Greens did not stand, Plaid took 1,299 votes, which would have eaten right into that majority, but maybe not by quite enough.

But going back to 2015 when Plaid and the Greens had candidates, they got a combined vote of 3,028 votes – more than enough to hole the Lib Dems well below the waterline.

But the real evident damage yesterday was that inflicted on the Tories by The Brexit Party. Had Des Parkinson stepped aside, the Tories would in all probability have won.

So, there's a double message there.

The first is that, despite losing the seat, this was not a bad result for the Tories as the other side had to both gang up together to do it and rely on the Brexit Party splitting the vote on the other side. Had either of those not happened then the Tories would I think have won. And if the Greens and Plaid had stood and The Brexit Party had stood aside I reckon it would have been a comfortable Tory win.

The second message is that, although polling far fewer votes than the Tories, The Brexit Party is proving to be an electoral threat to the Tories as even without winning a seat they could deny the Tories wins across the country in any general election. The Tories must therefore deliver or die.

Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party will also be licking their wounds having dropped from the 17% mark in 2017 to just over 5% so only just saving their deposit. This is not a good result for them.

And the Lib Dems are out crowing across the land about stopping Brexit in its tracks and claiming that the people of Brecon and Radnorshire have chosen hope over fear etc.

And in response to that, I will point out that the Lib Dems are the party of Remain and all that the Remain campaign has done over the last three plus years, is pump out anti-Brexit Project Fear – fear, fear and yet more fear.

The Lib Dems are the party of doom-sayers with not a positive hopeful thing to bring to the table.

Many of those that voted for the UnLib UnDems voted out of fear, not out of hope!

And finally, it was a good night for Brexit, as it showed that the parties dedicated to Brexit, that's the Tories, The Brexit Party and UKIP all got 15,974 votes between them, while the Parties totally dedicated to Remain, the Greens, Plaid and the Lib Dems got 13,826. You can ignore Labour and the Loonies as it would be unclear as to which way those voters would go in a pure Brexit vs Remain vote.

So I make that a Brexit majority of 2,148 or 7.2% of the vote.

Or 53.6% for Leave and 46.4% for Remain.

And that message comes through as clear as a bell.

Sources:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-politics-49200636

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brecon_and_Radnorshire_(UK_Parliament_constituency)#cite_note-13

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