An early by-election test for the new CON leader?
This weekend has seen the last intensive campaigning in the Brecon and Radnor constituency to persuade those on the electoral roll to sign the petition that the sitting MP br recalled. This would create an immediate vacancy and a Westminster by-election would be called.
On Thursday evening the recall petition will be closed and should the 10% threshold be reached then there’ll be a Westminster by-election there – the largest constituency by land area in England and Wales. The petition count is expected to take place on the Friday.
Nobody knows how many have signed over the past weeks and opinion polls are banned.
If the recall happens and follows the Peterborough time-table then we could see a by-election taking place within a week or so of the new CON leader taking over.
What an opportunity for the new leader to demonstrate that their electoral prowess but what a chance for the yellows to give him (and we know now that it will be a him) a bloody nose.
Given the precariousness of the Conservative position in the Commons then losing would be a major blow and could make an early general election more likely. This is because not only will the government be one seat down but its opponents will be one seat up and the government’s majority with DUP support would be down to a single seat.
TMay, who by then will be the former leader, had a pretty good by-election record securing in Copeland the only gain from Labour while in government for nearly three decades.
A ComRes/Telegraph poll that came out earlier in the week pointed to a Johnson led Tory party achieving a 140 seat majority in a general election – a finding that must have helped in the MPs ballot.
If Johnson is leader and this survey, the format of which and presentation in the paper has been widely criticised, is on the right lines then a CON hold should be a doddle
Brecon and Radnor was won by the LDs at GE1997 and held by the party until the current MP, Christopher Davies gained it for the Tories at GE2015. At GE2017 he retained the seat with a 19.5% majority. The LDs are keen to get it back and are already working hard.
This would be the first by-election since Richmond Park when they are the clear challengers and expect a high octane campaign which is already under way in the effort to get 10% of voters to sign the petition.