A loss in his first week would be a big blow
In the week after Boris Johnson becomes Prime Minister he will face his first by-election defence in the Welsh constituency of Brecon and Radnorshire. Looking through the records this appears to be unprecedented. There hasn’t in modern times been a by-election scheduled to take place so soon after a new PM takes office and, inevitably it is going to be seen as something of a verdict on him.
This will also be the first Westminster by-election for the new LD leader and both contenders, Jo Swinson and Ed Davey, have campaigned there.
A CON loss would add enormously to the party’s difficulties at Westminster because the opposition parties would see their total increase by one with the government ones reduce by one thus.
Postal votes are due to be going out towards by end of the week and electors will be able to start voting. As can be seen in the panel above this was held comfortably by the Tories two years ago in the general election. The party has the same candidate, even though he was been convicted of expenses fraud. He certainly is well-known in the constituency.
The recall petition that triggered the vacancy was signed by more than 19% of the electorate and the assumption must be that they will participate in the election vote but not vote for Davies. On a 50% turnout that would equate to 38% of the vote.
The main opposition comes from the LDs which desperately wants to win back a seat first gained by the old Liberal Party in 1985 and held until GE2015. They are throwing everything at the fight with the by-election campaign itself being simply an extension of the party’s active recall petition effort.
The Tories are also trying to fend off Farage’s Brexit party which came very close to winning Peterborough from LAB last month. Team Farage needs a good performance here to maintain momentum ideally coming ahead of the Tories.
The seat itself is the largest in terms of land area in England and Wales which adds to the logistical challenge of the fight.
In the betting the LDs are 1/6 favourites.