Chris Davies believes that despite the bookies’ odds he can still retain his seat in tomorrow’s Brecon and Radnorshire byelection.
The ex-Tory MP was forced to stand down after just under 20% of the constituency signed a recall petition to unseat him.
However, he’s been chosen to stand again on the promise of continuing his work in the constituency.
“81% of the people of Brecon and Radnorshire did not vote in the recall petition,” he says.
“50% of those voted Tories last time. 50% voted against me last time. So, there’s a very small percentage [of my support] that actually came out in the recall.
“As I’ve been going around – there’s been many people who’ve said they made that mistake in voting for the recall because they didn’t fully understand what it was all about. Or they received a lot of pressure from the Liberal Democrats to vote in that recall.
“So, I was quite comfortable that 81% did not vote and a certain percentage have already said they made a mistake in voting for that recall.”
In April 2018, the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority – which oversees MPs’ expenses – referred Davies to the Metropolitan Police “in relation to an allegation of fraudulent expense claims submitted by an individual”.
But Davies maintains that he made an “honest mistake” in the expenses form he submitted for photographs at his Builth Wells constituency office.
“I hope that the vast majority of the people of Brecon and Radnorshire will vote for me again,” he says.
“Not on the mistake I made in showing I was human, then held my hands up straight away for that mistake – fully on the hard work I’ve done for the constituency.
“There was no financial gain, there was no intent for financial gain and when you look at the consequences of what has happened and the position we’re in now, can anybody seriously think that I would’ve deliberately gone out to put myself in this position?
“There is only one conclusion. It was a mistake – a mistake that I honestly held my hands up to straight away.”
And a YouGov poll published on Monday has given him renewed hope. It showed a 7% increase in in voting intentions for the Conservatives in Westminster – a ‘Boris bounce’ under the new Tory Prime Minister.
Chris Davies says that he feels he has a lot more to give as an MP for the constituancy.
“There’s just so many things like that which just need to be improved upon,” he said. “I’ve started, I’ve worked hard and delivered but I’ve got more to do.
“Because I’ve lived here, I’ve worked here, my children go to school here, I’m involved in lots of activities, for example I’ve been involved with the Royal Welsh show for 32 years.
“I share the concerns, difficulties and the aims of people in this constituency like many of those who are standing here. I want to represent them because I know their needs.
“I’m running again because I work very hard for the people of Brecon and Radnorshire. They’ve been very keen and supportive of me standing again because I’ve delivered for them over the last four years and they know there’s a lot more I want to do for this community.
“So I’m looking forward to the election on Thursday and hopefully representing them again in future years.”
He says that broadband and mobile signal are two big issues that he wants to tackle in the rural constituency.
“I’ve increased connectivity with the Broadband and telephone signal from a 39% coverage to 89% coverage over the last couple of years,” he said.
In terms of Brexit, Davies is a firm believer in Boris Johnson’s aim of taking the UK out of the European Union as soon as possible.
“Well I’ve been a eurosceptic all my life,” Chris Davies said. “I voted for Brexit. I’ve supported Brexit on every occasion at the House of Commons. I voted to keep a no-deal on the table.
“I’m the only one who can support the new Prime Minister to ensure that Brexit is delivered for the people for Brecon and Radnorshire who voted out just like the people of Wales voted out.”