*Above Jane Dodds is greeted by Lady Lily the Pink as she arrives at Builth Show Ground.
After a long night at the Royal Welsh Showground in Builth, the results were in and counted. In what was a tightly contested race right up to the end, the Liberal Democrat candidate Jane Dodds took the seat for Brecon and Radnorshire. With the lenses of Britain's news crews firmly focused on the proceedings, the evening started slowly and tensions began to rise. The hush was only broken with the arrival of 'Lady Lily the Pink' of the Monster Raving Looney Party as her and her entourage arrived. Quickly surrounded by the Press, Lily 'AKA Berni Benton' from Llanwrtyd Wells enjoyed a swathe of interest and was delighted to have been so well received throughout the Campaign, gaining many new friends and followers on the way. With her cupcakes and Pink Lady Apples, she brought an air of wit to the proceedings. She has been, however, an inspirational person who has certainly reiterated that there is room in politics for everyone and more-so women. With the Brexit Party's Des Parkinson and Tom Davies from Labour keeping a watchful eye on the Count, Liz Phillips of UKIP was a no-show. The Looney's later knocking them into the last place at the final Count.
As the ballot boxes emptied Chris Davies of the Conservative party was the first of the two front-runners to show. Sweeping in, he was swiftly led to the counting tables and did not stop to give interviews to the waiting media teams. As if with a knowing air Jane Dodds arrived in the hall at the final hour being heralded by a group of placard-waving Liberal Democrat Activists. Not long followed the call for the candidates to take the podium. Joyous cheers were yelled out as they took to the stage. And in a somewhat confusing reading of the results firstly in Welsh, it was not at first apparent who had won. However, the following clarification in English led to the hall erupting into cheers as Jane Dodds was announced as the winner. Each candidate took to the Mic to thank the staff and returning officers of Powys County Council for how the election results were handled.
A forthright speech from Jane Dodds showed clearly that a NO-DEAL Brexit was not on their agenda and made a promise to the electorate to take the newly in place Prime Minister Boris Johnson to task on his plans to carry out the National 'Leave' result due to take place in October. Chris Davies was courteous in his speech and congratulated the new MP and her fellow candidates. The main emphasis, however, was on thanking the local people of the constituency for his original election. With a moving tribute to his team, he emphasised the strain that the past months had put on his wife, family, and friends, due to his recall. He was solemn and reflective as he stood on stage. Labour's Tom Davies had little to say only stating this result was a 'rejection' of the recent trip to Brecon by the PM during the Campaign stating that they had 'turned their back on the Conservatives' now hashtagged as the #BorisBounce. However, it was clear that looking at the results the Labour Party has much to do before they ever strike a stronghold in the area. Lily the Pink took to the Mic following a brief speech from Des Parkinson, she was clearly the winner in the popularity stakes, who knows had she had stood in a different party we could well have seen another face at Westminster! So as quick as it started the evening ended, with the ensuing photocall, a beaming Liberal Democrat AM, Kirsty Williams, Education Minister at the Welsh Assembly parachuted into the frame to partake in the celebrations.
Time will tell how the constituency receives its new MP with the Liberal Democrats managing to take the position having joined in a pact with the Welsh Green Party and Plaid Cymru. However political observers have commented that the combined figures of both the Conservatives and The Brexit Party suggest the people of Brecon and Radnorshire still support and are in favour of Brexit. The local farming community will now reflect on the result and its impact over the coming months.
FYI Talgarth thanks Lady Lily for her invitation to join her at the Count for a memorable evening.
Photos Courtesy of Ann Seymour Photography.
Jane Dodds - Lib Dem - 13,826 (43.5%)
Chris Davies - Con - 12,401 (39%)
Des Parkinson - Brexit - 3,331 (10.5%)
Tom Davies - Labour - 1,680 (5.3%)
Lady Lily The Pink - Loony - 334 (1%)
Liz Phillips - UKIP - 242 (0.8%)
Lib Dem Majority - 1,425
For more information on the results see Powys County Council posted results:
For other images and reports see our sister site FYI Brecon : https://brecon.fyinetwork.co.uk/my,51139-Jane-Dodds-Lib-Dem-takes-Brecon--Radnorshire-byelection
Sky News followed the events live at the hall
Labour Candidate Tom Davies arrives
The Looney Party Entourage arrived..
Rosemarie Harris - Leader of Powys County Council
A sombre Chris Davies listens as the results are read
The Returning Officer for Powys County Council
Lily the Pink congratulates Jane Dodds at is announced she has won
Jane Dodds supported by Sir Ed Davey - Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Home Affairs
Sir Ed Davey, Jane Dodds and AM Kirsty Williams of the Liberal Democrats triumphant in victory