Good morning and welcome to the politics liveblog. I’ll be holding the fort for the early shift, before the unparalleled Andrew Sparrow takes over later on.
The big news overnight was that the Liberal Democrats’ candidate, Jane Dodds, won the seat of Brecon and Radnorshire in the byelection, cutting Johnson’s Commons majority to one.
The Liberal Democrats won 13,826 votes, with the Conservatives taking 12,401, a narrow majority of 1,425 that overturned the Tories’ previous majority of more than 8,000. It was a sobering night for the Labour party (1,680 votes), which was beaten into fourth place by the Brexit party (3,331), and only just held on to its deposit. Ukip came last behind the Monster Raving Loony Party.
The defeat will be a major blow to the Tories and will be seized on as a sign voters are concerned by Boris Johnson’s pledge to leave the EU without a deal if necessary.
In her acceptance speech, Dodds said that the vote “sent a powerful message to Westminster: we demand better” and said her first act as MP would be “to find 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.”
Ed Davey, the Lib Dem MP for Kingston and Surbiton, said: “It’s a huge result. Not only is it the Liberal Democrats back in Wales and continues the momentum we had in the locals and Europeans but it’s massive for the party arithmetic over Brexit The Brecon and Radnorshire by-election was the front-line of the stop Brexit campaign. This is going to make Boris Johnson’s job that much more difficult and for those of us who are desperate to stop Brexit it’s a crucial moment.”
The Lib Dem leader, Jo Swinson, will visit Brecon and Radnorshire this morning at 9am, and we will be watching for comment and reaction from MPs as the day unfolds.
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