James Cleverly Challenged By Tom Swarbrick On Brecon By-Election Defeat

2 August 2019, 09:41 | Updated: 2 August 2019, 09:46

The Conservative Party Chairman James Cleverly defends his party's choice to put up a candidate who had been 'sacked by his constituents' in the Brecon by-election - which saw the Lib Dems reduce Boris Johnson's working majority to just one.

The Conservative Party lost the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election to the Liberal Democrats, whose Jane Dodds won with 43.5% of the vote, beating former Tory MP Chris Davies on 39% after he triggered the election following his conviction for submitting false expenses.

James Cleverly, the new party Chairman, said that the result was "disappointing" and "frustrating" for Leave supporters.

But Tom Swarbrick challenged Mr Cleverly's on the party's decision to put him up as a candidate, given he had "basically been sacked by his constituents".

Liberal Democrat candidate Jane Dodds won the Brecon by-election
Liberal Democrat candidate Jane Dodds won the Brecon by-election. Picture: PA

Mr Cleverly said: "Chris did something that was foolish, he claimed for something he had legitimately bought in pursuit of his parliamentary duties that's how the expenses system works, he did a foolish thing in terms of how he put forward the invoices for that, he's apologised for that.

"He's a really strong, well known local man who was very popular - and still has a huge repository of popularity in the constituency who put up a really good campaign, a really good fight and got really close to being returned as the member of parliament.

"It's disappointing that we lost a conservative colleague but my big frustration is that those people who voted for the Brexit Party in the hope of clearly getting Brexit delivered have now got a Lib Dem MP who's going to do everything she can to stop Brexit from happening."

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