Boris Johnson’s govt has majority of 1 after bypoll setback
In the House of 650, the Conservative strength is now 310. It is supported by the 10-member Democratic Unionist Party, taking the ruling combine’s strength to 320.Updated: Aug 02, 2019 13:28 IST
Boris Johnson suffered a setback in his first test as prime minister after the Conservative party on Friday lost a by-election in Wales that reduced its majority in the House of Commons to one, challenging his government’s ability to pass key Brexit-related laws.
Standing on an outright anti-Brexit platform, the Liberal Democrats candidate Jane Dodds, 55, wrested the Brecon and Radnorshire seat from the Conservative candidate Chris Davies by a margin of 1,425 votes. Plaid Cymru and Green party did not put up candidates as part of what is called a ‘Remain’ alliance.
In the House of 650, the Conservative strength is now 310. It is supported by the 10-member Democratic Unionist Party, taking the ruling combine’s strength to 320. The combined opposition strength is 319. The speaker, three deputy speakers and the seven-member Sinn Fein group do not vote.
Dodds said: “People are desperately crying out for a different kind of politics. There is no time for tribalism when our country is faced with a Boris Johnson government and the threat of a no-deal Brexit”.
“My very first act as your MP when I arrive in Westminster will be to find Mr Boris Johnson, wherever he’s hiding, and tell him loud and clear: stop playing with the futures of our communities and rule out a no-deal Brexit.”
Conservative party chairman James Cleverly conceded that the by-election was disappointing: “But what we saw here was a very close result in a by-election which the Liberal Democrats were expecting to romp home comfortably.”
“What we also saw was the Labour Party, the official opposition, the party that claims to be ready to step in, almost losing their deposit well in Wales. They moved backwards,” he added, referring to Labour finishing fourth behind the Brexit party.
There are reports of a ‘Boris bounce’ for the Conservative party after Johnson became the prime minister last week, but the by-election setback is unlikely to encourage him to call a general election anytime soon.