In the United Kingdom the Conservatives have lost a seat in a by election even though it previously held the seat with a majority of more than 8,000. From the Guardian:
Boris Johnson has suffered a major blow after the Tories were beaten by the Liberal Democrats in the Brecon and Radnorshire byelection.
The victory by Liberal Democrat candidate Jane Dodds means the new prime minister’s working majority in the House of Commons has been cut to just one and will be seized on as a sign voters are concerned by Borish Johnson’s pledge to leave the EU without a deal if necessary.
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.
In her acceptance speech, Dodds said: “I am incredibly humbled by the support. From every walk of life and every political persuasion, people have chosen to believe in my positive liberal vision for something better.
“And by backing that liberal vision, people in Brecon and Radnorshire have sent a powerful message to Westminster: we demand better.”
She continued: “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 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.”
Labour did not do so well.
And from Ireland has come a proposal to provide seven extra anti Johnson votes in Parliament.
Boris Johnson’s radical right-wing administration has no effective majority in the House of Commons, even with the support of the DUP. But given the fragmented state of the opposition, Johnson may still be able to drive onwards towards the Brexit deadline of October 31st and over the edge of the cliff. There is one party that can stop him: Sinn Féin.
Sinn Féin holds seven seats at Westminster but leaves them vacant. Calling on the party to take those seats is rhetorically satisfying but pointless. In the first place, it has an impregnable argument for not doing so. It won these seats on an abstentionist platform. And it did so in 2017, when Theresa May was pushing for a very hard Brexit. Its voters knew the dangers and supported abstention anyway. That fact cannot be set aside.
And secondly, even if Sinn Féin was somehow able to make an immediate decision to occupy its seats when the Commons returns in September, the effect would probably be counterproductive. The Brexiteers and their media wing would generate hysteria about the Provos thwarting the will of the British people. Johnson would relish it. Wavering Tories would step back into line.
His solution? Sinn Fein MPs all resign. And Sinn Féin, the SDLP, Alliance and the Greens all agree on a joint candidate who would be very likely to be elected at the by election.
And once elected what would they do?
[T]he candidates will commit themselves to respecting Sinn Féin’s policy of abstention on all issues except the ones that pertain to Brexit and the unfolding crisis. Their platform is simple. They will support all measures, procedural or legislative, to stop a no-deal Brexit, up to and including the revocation of article 50. They will support in all circumstances the retention of the backstop. They will support any proposal for a new referendum. They will support a motion of no-confidence in Johnson if he seeks to push through a no-deal Brexit. And they will support, if the opportunity arises, the formation of an alternative cross-party administration.
The proposal is desperate but English politics is very unstable. It would be an outstanding result of the English’s continuous occupation of Irish soil resulted in the English Parliament descending into chaos. Of course the alternative is that Northern Ireland becomes part of the Republic again.
Interesting times …