From a Tory campaign AD Brecon & Radnorshire by-election
Boris’s first electoral test – getting more by-election votes than Farage
It might be a too big an ask to expect the Tories to retain the Brecon and Radnorshire seat where the by-election takes place on August 1st but the party would dearly love to win more votes than Farage’s Brexit Party.
The circumstances, the fact that their candidate is the former MP who was deprived of his seat following the successful recall petition after his criminal conviction for expenses fraud is not a good starting point.
On top of that the many sheep farmers in this huge constituency who rely on exports to Europe are not enamored by the prospect of a no deal Brexit which would mean that their products would have a 40% tariff placed on them. Their livelihoods and those in the constituency who rely on the sheep trade are at stake.
The main opposition and 1/5 odds-on favourites to retake the seat lost at GE2015, the Liberal Democrats, are the only remain party in the race following agreements with the Greens and PC applied not to field candidates.
Such tight odds have not made the by-election overall winner an attractive betting market though there is now a another option from Ladbrokes which looks extremely interesting. Which of the Conservatives and the Brexit Party party will win most votes?
Currently the bookie makes it 1/2 for the Tory and 6/4 for Farage’s party. Given how well the latter did in Peterborough a few weeks ago coming with in a few hundred votes of beating Labour then the 6/4 looks attractive.
The one thing that could change that, of course, is that by August 1st there will be a new Conservative leader, most likely Boris Johnson, and my guess is that the expectation that he will give a boost to the Tories is priced into those odds.
Failing to beat the Tory vote total here would severely blunt the momentum that Farage has built up for his party since the successes in the May euro elections.
The Tory battle to recover the ground taken by Farage is the first electoral battle for the new leader.