A SHAMED MP has become the second to be booted out of office, triggering a by-election, after losing a recall petition held in his Welsh home city.
Chris Davies was fined £1,500 in March after he admitted two charges relating to fraud.
Chris Davies must now choose whether to stay and fight to keep his seat of Brecon and Radnorshire after local voters overwhelmingly backed a bid to remove him. He is, however, no longer an MP.
Some 10,005 people signed a petition – almost double the 5,303 (10%) threshold needed – that was triggered by a criminal conviction of giving false information for his Westminster expenses.
However, despite his conviction, bizarrely he was not thrown out of the Conservative Party, receiving only a “formal warning”.
This suggests that he could still stay and fight the by-election under a Tory banner in his seat – where he has a majority of 8,038. The Tories must now, however – in light of the recent decision made by his former constituents – decide whether to allow him to stand as a blue and likely see the complete loss of the seat altogether, or remove him from the party and replace him with a new candidate, as was the case with Labour and criminal Fiona Onasanya/Lisa Forbes in Peterborough.
Lib Dem sources are already stating that they have a good chance of winning his seat – which they held from 1997 to 2015, and where the anti-Brexit party came second in 2017.
Labour trailed in third place in Brecon with 7,335 votes in 2017, to the Tories’ 20,081 and Lib Dems’ 12,043.
And recent council and EU election saw huge Lib Dem gains at the Tories’ expense across the country.
The leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, Jane Dodds, will stand for the party in the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election.
She said: “We have a golden opportunity to do things differently.
“The clear choice in this by-election is between the Conservatives, whose chaos and infighting is letting our communities down, and a better future for our area with the Welsh Lib Dems.”
Davies was told he had committed “two very serious offences” which were “absolutely intended to deceive” when he appeared before magistrates earlier this year.
Sentencing him, judge Mr Justice Edis said: “It seems shocking that when confronted with a simple accounting problem, you thought to forge documents.
“That is an extraordinary thing for a man with your position and your background to do.”
Davies pleaded guilty to two charges in March this year.
The first charge was providing false or misleading information for allowances claims, contrary to section 10 of the Parliamentary Standards Act 2009.
In March 2016 he made a claim under the MPs’ allowances scheme and provided an invoice that he knew to be “false or misleading”, the court heard.
The second charge was attempting to provide false or misleading information for allowances claims, contrary to the act.
It related to an attempt in April 2016 to make a claim using an invoice “that he knew to be false or misleading”.
Two previous charges of forgery were dropped.
Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard how the two charges related to the period when Davies was setting up his constituency office following the 2015 general election.
He had contacted a photographer in his constituency and purchased nine images from him to decorate and display in his constituency office, using his own money to pay the £700 for them initially.
When one budget ran short he proceeded to create two fake invoices, so the £700 cost could be split between the two budgets – £450 to the Start Up and £250 for the other.
The petition was only the third ever of its kind after separate recall bids against MPs Ian Paisley Jr and] Fiona Onasanya.
But unlike Onasanya – dropped by Labour and ousted after she was found guilty of perverting the course of justice – Davies was backed by his local party and remained a Conservative MP.
The recall petition opened on May 9 and Mr Davies’s constituents had six weeks to sign it before it closed at 5pm on June 20.
A spokesman for Welsh Labour said today: “The recall result is another huge blow to Chris Davies’ credibility to serve as MP.”