The Brecon by-election will be the first electoral test for the newly appointed 77th Prime Minister Boris Johnson. A by-election occurs outside of a general election when a seat in the House of Commons is vacated. The Breacon and Radnorshire seat became available when the Conservative MP Chris Davies was ousted after 10,005 of his constituents signed a recall petition following his conviction for a false expenses claim. Now six other candidates are vying to replace him, but what will the polling stations close today?
In April 2018, the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, the body which oversees MPs’ expenses, referred Mr Davies to the Metropolitan Police “in relation to an allegation of fraudulent expense claims submitted by an individual”.
The Conservative MP said he made an “honest mistake” in the expenses form he submitted for photographs at his Builth Wells constituency office: the mistake involved deliberate forgery.
He stood accused of forging two invoices for £450 and £250 rather than submitting the true £700 claim for the photographs and claimed it was submitted due to “my inexperience of the IPSA code”.
Brecon by-election: What time do polling stations for the by-election close? (Image: NIKLAS HALLE'N/AFP/GETTY)
In February, Mr Davies was charged with two counts of making a false instrument and one count of providing false or misleading information for allowance claims.
He pleaded guilty to two counts and was sentenced to a community order requiring 50 hours’ unpaid work, together with a fine of £1,500.
During the sentencing hearing, the judge 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.”
Brecon by-election: Conservative MP Chris Davies was removed as MP after an expenses scandal (Image: MATTHEW HORWOOD/GETTY)
The conviction automatically triggered the 2019 Brecon and Radnorshire recall