Pro-Brexit parties won last week's by-election - but only just
What can we learn, if anything, from the by-election in Brecon & Radnorshire?
What lessons are there for the pro-Brexit parties?
All readers know it is dangerous to draw too many conclusions from a Parliamentary by-election. It involves only one seat, only a few tens of thousands of voters, local issues sometimes eclipsing national ones, and an element of protest voting.
That said, the by-election in the Brecon and Radnorshire constituency last Thursday does throw up some interesting questions regarding the status of Leave/Remain and some questions regarding the dilemma facing the political parties in the event of a General Election.
Firstly, the results
Brexit Facts4EU.Org Summary
The anti-Brexit parties
- The LibDems won the seat with 13,826 votes, a majority of 1,425 votes or 4.5%
- Plaid Cymru - electoral pact with LibDems, didn’t stand, asked their voters to vote LibDem
- In the 2017 General Election Plaid Cymru received 1,299 votes
- Labour secured only 1680 votes, a massive 77% drop from their 7,335 votes in the 2017 GE
© Brexit Facts4EU.Org - click to enlarge
The pro-Brexit parties
- The Conservatives received 13,826 votes, significantly down from 20,081 in 2017
- Their vote share fell from 49% to 39%
- The Brexit Party stood for the first time and received 3,331 votes – 10.5% of the vote
- UKIP received 242 votes, a massive 58% drop since 2017
Leave vs Remain – Leave won… just
- Pro-Brexit parties : 15,974 (50.7%)
- Anti-Brexit parties : 15,506 (49.3%)
© Brexit Facts4EU.Org - click to enlarge
Note : For the purposes of this chart Pro-Brexit means Cons, BP, and UKIP. Anti-Brexit means LibDem and Lab.
Finally, how did the people of Brecon and Radnorshire vote in the EU Referendum?
This is a typical pro-Brexit constituency, with 51.86% having voted to leave the EU.
Unusual factors in this by-election
- The Conservatives fielded an ex-MP convicted for expenses fraud in April
- He was fined and also sentenced to community service
- He lost his seat due to a Recall Petition which gained almost twice the number of signatures necessary
- He was then re-selected as the Conservative candidate for the constituency
- Plaid Cymru did an electoral pact with the LibDems and didn’t stand – a first we believe
Brexit Facts4EU.Org remains non-partisan for all parties which respect democracy. In practice however, we support candidates who back the “come what may, do or die” policy, which happens to be that of the current Government of Mr Johnson. Our non-partisanship includes candidates of all parties. We believe that the United Kingdom’s future lies outside the failing and increasingly totalitarian EU.
The reason we have provided facts about the by-election in Wales last week is because it helps to frame questions.
- Are election pacts on the Leave side going to happen, as on the Remain side in this case? We doubt it.
- Will the fragmentation of the pro-Brexit vote result in a Remain government by the back door?
- If all BP and UKIP votes had gone to the Conservative on this occasion, he would have won by 2,148 votes
- What on earth was CCHQ doing, fielding an MP convicted of expenses fraud?
- Chris Davies voted all three times for Mrs May’s appalling surrender treaty
- Are the CCHQ candidate selection team so anti-Brexit that they chose this soft Remainer again, for a Leave constituency, because he’s not really a Brexiteer?
An interesting point to note here is that the Brexit Party came from nowhere and won 3,331 votes – over 10%. Between them the Conservatives and Labour lost 13,335 votes. Many of these are explained by the drop in turnout since the 2017 General Election, but this only went down by 9,520 votes.
It is therefore interesting to ask where the Brexit Party’s 3,331 votes came from. We suspect they gained votes from both Labour and the Conservatives.
This seat has been strong for the LibAnti-Dems for decades. It has returned LibAnti-Dem and Conservative MPs since 1985. Now it is back in LibAnti-Dem hands, although with a slim majority of just 1,425 votes.
Overall, perhaps it's fair to ask the following key questions :
If the Brexit Party had not stood, would the Conservatives have won? (A: Quite possibly.)
Did the Brexit Party stand to show the Conservatives the danger of not entering into an electoral pact?
What would happen in Labour Leave seats if the Brexit Party enter into an electoral pact with the Conservatives?
Has the Leave side as a whole been ineffective in its campaigning for a true Brexit? (A: Yes.)
We are interested in readers views about all of this. Brexit Facts4EU.Org must now operate on the basis that a General Election could be called in the near future. We are actively engaged in some initiatives in advance of this. Please do not be shy about giving us your thoughts, either in the comments below or privately by email using our contact form.
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[ Sources: Returning Officer, Brecon and Radnorshire constituency | Professor Hanretty - analysis of EU Ref by constituency ] Politicians and journalists can contact us for details, as ever.
Brexit Facts4EU.Org, 05 Aug 2019
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