Tag Archives: brecon and radnorshire by-election 2019

Vince Cable MP reflects on recent events and some holiday reading


Jane Dodds applauds helpers at Brecon – Photo by Callum Littlemore

I heard the good news about Brecon and Radnorshire having disappeared for some R&R as soon as Parliament closed, and the new Lib Dem leadership was settled. I was delighted with the result not just for Jane Dodds and our campaigners – who fully deserved it – but for an excellent colleague, Roger Williams, who didn’t deserve to lose back in 2015. Our victory is testament also to Kirsty Williams, our AM, who kept the Lib Dem flame, and local party, alive through the years of exile.

I enjoyed my three visits to the constituency as party leader for more than the politics. I had memories of a mis-spent and romantic youth as a mountain guide in the Black Mountains and Brecon Beacons; an idyllic second honeymoon in a hotel below Pen-y-Fan; and several literary fests at Hay. Jane helped Rachel and me to locate a stunning B&B in ‘the oldest house in Wales’, a farmhouse and restored annex reached through three farm gates high up a hillside on the banks of the Wye and serving food which would not have been out of place in a top restaurant. A great by-election in more ways than one.

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Tactical voting and the Brecon by-election

How did we win the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election? To state the obvious, people changed their vote between 2017 and 2019. Contrary to most of the comment in the press from both Tories and Liberal Democrats, the main reason we won was not because of a remain alliance. The numbers are very clear. We gained 14.3% of the vote between 2017 and 2019.

Where did those votes come from? They certainly didn’t come from the Conservatives. The vote for the ‘pro-Brexit’ parties (CON, BREX and UKIP) stayed remarkably stable: they took exactly 50% of the vote in 2017 and 50.3% …

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Photo special: Brecon and Radnorshire victory

Here are some photos, via Getty Images, from last night and this morning, showing celebrations in Brecon and Radnorshire. Scroll down to see more photos. Hover over the photo to see the full caption, or click on the photo to go to its origin on the Getty Images website. The first photo below shows Jo Swinson speaking in the constituency at 8 o’clock this morning:

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Brecon diary epilogue: Chocks away, Nigel!



The Brexit party plane over Brecon and Radnorshire yesterday

After an early night on Wednesday, my alarm went off at 4:50am on Thursday. I successfully managed to switch it off, disenabling the “snooze” function. So, of course, I then went back to sleep and woke up at 5:25am, leaving myself exactly 30 seconds to get dressed and into the car to meet Kirsten Johnson, North Devon PPC and LDV colleague.

The Llandrindod Wells office team gave us an exceptionally well ordered and tightly-knit set of “Good morning” leaflets which we delivered very quickly. Only about seven dogs started barking.

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Morning round up – We did it! Welcome to Jane Dodds MP

If you’ve actually been asleep and not, like me, sat up all through the night to wait for the results, here’s a summary of the overnight electoral gymnastics.

Let’s start with a good local by-election:

And another one.

And now on to Brecon.

I’m writing this at 3:30 am when I have had more gin than is wise and I have just about stopped crying with happinesss. Jane Dodds MP.  That sounds good.

We did it!  will never forget that shot of Shaun Roberts and Dave McCobb on Sky News. They were smiling, and looking very smug indeed.

And Jane walking in and looking so happy.

Here’s the result in full:

Davies C  Conservative 12,401

Davies T   Labour 1,680

Dodds J 1 Liberal Democrat 13,826

Parkinson D Brexit 3381

Phillips L UKIP 242

Pink, Lily the 334

We have done it!!!

 

Jane’s speech, paraphrased:

People in Brecon and Radnorshire have sent a powerful message.

34 years ago a Liberal victory sparked a liberal revival.

People demand better.

The message from me and our new leader – is that you can have better, and better with the Liberal Democrats. This victory must be a turning point for not just for b and r but for our whole country too.

There is no time for tribalism when our country is faced with the threat of a no deal brexit.

My first act as MP will be to find Boris wherever he is hiding and tel him to rule out no deal Brexit now.

This is a time when people who share liberal values must work together which is why I want to thank the Green Party and Plaid Cymru to back me this time.

It is an immense privilege to follow in the footsteps of Roger Willians and Richard Livesey.

I am so glad I went down and spent those 4 days in Llandrindod Wells. LDV team members spent about 18 days there in all.

If you want to get to know Jane and what makes her tick better, here is my interview with her from  two weeks ago on Saturday.

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2:50 am round up: Jane has done it and it wasn’t even that close

So we’ve done it! I will never forget that shot of Shaun Roberts and Dave McCobb on Sky News. They were smiling, and looking very smug indeed.

And Jane walking in and looking so happy.

It’ll be a while before I stop crying.

Here’s the result in full:

Davies C  Conservative 12,401

Davies T   Labour 1,680

Dodds J Liberal Democrat 13,826

Parkinson D Brexit 3381

Phillips L UKIP 242

Pink, Lily the 334

We have done it!!!

Jane’s speech, paraphrased:

People in Brecon and Radnorshire have sent a powerful message.

34 years ago a Liberal victory sparked a liberal revival.

People demand better.

The message from me and our new leader – is that you can have better, and better with the Liberal Democrats. This victory must be a turning point for not just for b and r but for our whole country too.

There is no time for tribalism when our country is faced with the threat of a no deal brexit.

My first act as MP will be to find Boris wherever he is hiding and tel him to rule out no deal Brexit now.

This is a time when people who share liberal values must work together which is why I want to thank the Green Party and Plaid Cymru to back me this time.

It is an immense privilege to follow in the footsteps of Roger Willians and Richard Livesey.

I am so glad I went down and spent those 4 days in Llandrindod Wells. LDV team members spent about 18 days there in all.

If you want to get to know Jane and what makes her tick better, here is my interview with her from  two weeks ago on Saturday.

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Brecon and Radnorshire by-election open thread

Well, it’s all over bar the counting. In just a few hours, we’ll know if Jane Dodds has succeeded in her attempt to become Wales’ only Liberal Democrat MP.

She has been an amazing candidate. We could not have asked more of her. She’s talked about local issues and Brexit, she’s been engaging and warm and kind.  We should all be very proud of the work she has done.

So, what happened in 2017?

Chris Davies (Conservative)                                20 081

James Gibson-Watt (Liberal Democrat)          12 043

Dan Lodge (Labour)                                                 7 335

Kate Heneghan (Plaid Cymru)                               1 229

Peer Gilbert (UKIP)                                                       576

This time, Plaid Cymru has stood aside in favour of Liberal Democrat Welsh Leader Jane Dodds.

The Brexit Party is represented by Des Parkinson, Labour by Tom Davies, UKIP by Liz Phillips and the Monster Raving Loony Party has Lady Lily the Pink.

The Liberal Democrats have had the weight of expectations in what was always going to be a tough fight. At the start of the campaign it looked like the Brexit Party might be our main opponents. However, since Boris Johnson took office and appointed a horrifically right wing extreme Brexiteer Cabinet, the Brexit Party has felt the squeeze as voters return to the Conservatives and their Brexiteer candidate. Whether enough Labour and Plaid voters have come to Jane remains to be seen.

When I was there a couple of weeks ago, I met Labour, Plaid and Green voters who were enthusiastically voting for Jane. I met a few very hostile people who were obviously looking for the most extreme form of Brexit to vote for. And there were so many people in the middle who had questions or who weren’t particularly motivated to go and vote. Whether we win tonight will depend on how many of these people we were able to persuade in the tail end of the campaign.

Postal votes went out six days before Boris took office so may well have a big Conservative/Brexit Party split.

It’s going to be close and this is going to be a very nervous few hours. Stick with us as we look at the commentary and try to stay awake…

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Help Jo get the vote out for Jane Dodds in Brecon – 3 hours to go

Jo Swinson shows her energetic style by heading down to Brecon for polling day and doing some knocking up with the candidate.

It isn’t usual for party leaders to do this sort of thing, but it’s very Jo to want to be there in the middle of the action, doing her bit.

It’s just great to see two of our party’s leaders out on a beautiful election evening knocking on doors.

And you can join Jo, if not in person, on the phones. All you need to know about how to do that is here. I’m about to hit the phones too.

Seriously, you want to be part of this campaign. It’s been positive, joyful, and vibrant – just like the politics we want to see, bringing people together.

Other parliamentarians spotted today around this vast constituency:

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Good morning!

Good morning!

We were up at 5am to support Jane Dodds!

Please remember to come today to Brecon and/or Radnorshire if you can. If you can’t please do some phone knocking up.

Details are here.

Thanks!
Kirsten and Paul, LDV team in Llandrindod Wells

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Brecon diary: The rain stopped

I’m enjoying camping just outside Llandrindod Wells in beautiful surroundings. The photo below shows the first tent I have erected since I took my Duke of Edinburgh award training some 45 years ago! My “yellow peril” vehicle is just on the left hand side of the photo.

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Brecon diary: It’s not a proper election until you have a delivery injury

Liberal Democrat Voice team members Kirsten Johnson and Paul Walter in the Llandrindod Wells HQ office yesterday
Rain.

And more rain.

That was the hallmark of yesterday.

After a tentside Porridge Pot, I descended on the Llandrindod Wells HQ to find the place humming with activity.

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Brecon diary – a gorgeous holiday with delivery thrown in

Talgarth, Powys – What’s not to like?

I arrived at Brecon this morning. After parking, I wondered round to find the Lib Dem HQ (the whereabouts of which I vaguely remembered from my visit back in June).

As I was walking down the street, I was aware of a hubbub. There was the sound of people talking and generally great activity coming out of one shop front.

Well blow me down! It was the Lib Dem office in full swing as volunteers arrived to be given their marching orders.

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A peek into Jane Dodds’ Llandrindod Wells office

This time last week, I was delivering leaflets in Llandrindod Wells. I would love to go back, but family circumstances make it impossible before the by-election next Thursday.

So, it would be really great if someone would go in my place. Or even if lots of people went in my place. They really need to talk to as many people as possible. The little conversations you have with people can answer their questions and move them from potentially not voting or voting for someone else, to voting for Jane. And Jane is definitely worth voting for.

I want to see someone with her wisdom and kindness on our benches. She is so committed to tackling poverty, inequality and loneliness – as well as getting better health and transport services and better connectivity in this huge and gorgeous rural constituency. Catch up with the chat I had with her here.

If you do head to Brecon you will meet some lovely people. Here is the team at work in the Llandrindod Wells office last Sunday..

Every time the shelves look like they are getting empty, they fill up again.

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Caron’s Brecon Diary 3

The reason you are getting this today and not yesterday is that I came across a problem faced by many voters in rural Wales – no wifi and not even a 4G signal. A good job that Jane Dodds is campaigning for better connectivity.

Saturday started with a quick coffee with Jane. We did film an interview, but for some reason I can’t upload it so I will have to find someone clever to help me. It looks amazing on my phone, though.

Jane also caught up with Margaret, at her first by-election after 60 years in the party and who had spent Friday in the pouring rain delivering letters to postal voters in Rhayader.

Saturday was a bit dreich, as we Scots would say. Not as rainy as Friday but grey and damp. However there was some optimism in the Llandrindod HQ…

Actually, by the end of the day, the sun was shining, so it wasn’t misplaced.

I then went out with Jane, her aide Benny, John Dryden from Sheffield, Wendy Chamberlain, our wonderful PPC for the most marginal seat in the country, North East Fife, her organiser Celyn and the Chair of Scottish Lib Dem Women Ruth McElroy to canvass some gloriously beautiful villages.

Jane is so keen to get out to these places. She wants them to feel that they have been listened to and that she has made the effort to get there. She will continue to do that if she is elected as an MP. We started off in Llanbister and then headed to Felindre and Beguildy.

These conversations with voters matter so much. I spoke to a so many people over the weekend who were disposed to voting for Jane but there was a barrier in the way. For example, one man was concerned that stopping Brexit wasn’t democratic, even though he wanted that to happen. When I explained how we would do it through a People’s Vote, that barrier to him voting for Jane was removed. So we need to speak to as many people as possible to ensure that we get her over the line.

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Caron’s Brecon and Radnorshire Diary – Day 2

I woke yesterday morning to heavy rain. Knowing that the jacket I had bought was not up to the job, I headed to the local charity shops to see if I could find something better.

I had almost given up hope when I found something perfect – for a fiver! I am not an outdoorsy type so I didn’t realise that I had got an absolute bargain until Pete Roberts, who is running the Llandrindod office, pointed it out as he sent me off with some letters to deliver.

Once those were done, I was sent off with a wonderful lady called Margaret from Cheadle to deliver in the gorgeous town of Rhayader. Round every corner and up every hill (and there are a lot of hills), is another view that brings joy, even in the rain.

Margaret told me that this was her first by-election. She joined the party shortly after arriving at Edinburgh University to study medicine sixty years ago. She saw a poster saying “What do Liberals believe?” and thought she might like to find out.

A young man was speaking at the meeting about how we should have more co-operation with our European friends and look after the environment. We are nothing if not consistent. Margaret liked the sound of that and signed up on the spot.

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Caron’s Brecon and Radnorshire diary

Today started at 6 am when I dragged myself out of bed and headed to Edinburgh Airport for the first leg of my journey to Brecon and Radnorshire.

The flight to Cardiff (yes, I know, but train was twice the price and I don’t do it very often) was uneventful. When I realised the airport bus went to Cardiff Bay, I decided to take a wee detour.

 

It’s remarkable to think that this shrine to a fictional character still exists ten years after the events in the chilling Torchwood: Children of Earth.

i decided to take a boat trip back to the centre of Cardiff just so I could say that I had been on plane, train, bus, automobile and boat.

 

 But it was all going too well. When I got to Cardiff Central station I found that my train had been cancelled and the next one would get me to Llandrindod Wells at 8pm.in

However the nice people at Transport for Wales arranged for me to travel to Shrewsbury and then get a taxi with some others who had been similarly delayed.

I got thanks to a very pleasant Shrewsbury taxi driver called Wayne, not much later than planned. After booking into my hotel, which had been chosen for its cheapness alone but turned out to be across the road from the station and 6 minutes walk from HQ, I headed to our office.

 

It transpires  the building where where we are hosting our by-election campaign is replete with Lib Dem lore. Previous MPs  Roger Williams and Richard Livsey had used it as their base. Their photos and that of current AM Kirsty Williams.

Let’s hope that they are soon joined by Jane Dodds.

After some delivery I had the most delicious meal. It was the fish curry on the menu at Nasra and Fabian Veiyra’s restaurant Fabian’s Kitchen that got me through the door. The artwork on the walls is bold and beautiful and there is even a Naughty Corner.

The fish curry was beautiful – aniseedy and coconutty and deep. I didn’t much care for the chut

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Brecon and Radnorshire – a real test for the Liberal Democrats

I didn’t know when I joined the Liberal Democrats aged 15, that it would change my life dramatically. I’ve lived in Brecon and Radnorshire my whole life, which means I am incredibly lucky to have had at least one Liberal Democrat representative for my life so far. 

However that day in 2015, when we lost Roger Williams as the Member of Parliament was one of the worst days. It was not what he deserved for being a devoted MP for fourteen years. However Liberal-voting to its core, I knew then that Brecon and Radnorshire would be orange once again.

I don’t know about anybody else but, I am certainly so grateful to have been given this opportunity – the opportunity to have another Liberal voice in the House of Commons, fighting to remain in the European Union. This could not have been done without the recall petition and the 10,000+ people in Brecon and Radnorshire that supported it. We’re also very lucky to have a candidate like Jane Dodds, she is unapologetically a Welsh Liberal and will make an excellent MP for the area, something we are desperately in need of.

To top it off, the Liberal Democrats are currently polling at their highest percentage in a long time and the whole country is watching us. The results will be hugely important in showing that the Liberal Democrats are back, a legitimate political force again. A win at this by-election will prove that the fightback is real.

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Biscuits in Brecon….

This weekend, Liberal Democrats have been flocking to help Jane Dodds win Brecon and Radnorshire for the Liberal Democrats.

This time next week, I’ll be there. I am so excited because I have never been out of Cardiff before and I’m so looking forward to seeing more of Wales.

Here are just some of the people who have been helping.

Cambridge PPC Rod Cantrill said:

Great to be back again in Brecon with two car loads of activists from Cambridge door knocking for Jane Dodds on the Brecon Ro(a)d trip!

Alex Cole-Hamilton’s wife Gill may well be annoyed that they decided a long time ago to go to Wales for their Summer holiday. Alex made his second trip today and found two more Lib Dem parliamentarians to play with:

And he revealed that he has some family history in the area.

Amid reports of copious supplies of cake, Lib Dem Friends of Biscuits hit back in style:

And Dominic Buxton gives us a glimpse of how gorgeous it is there:

I don’t see any canvassing going on here…

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Ed Davey goes to Brecon to campaign for Jane Dodds

It was Ed Davey’s turn to head for Brecon and Radnorshire today.

He met Jane Dodds in what looks like a gorgeous town, Crickhowell.

And he visited a zero waste shop:

And encouraged us all to do the same:

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Jo Swinson’s tour of Brecon and Radnorshire’s by-election HQ

Jo Swinson headed to Brecon again today to help Jane Dodds campaign.

Here’s her whistle stop tour of the busy looking by-election HQ. As you would expect, there are lots of leaflets and cake.

And someone on his very first Lib Dem by-election campaign. And that someone looks incredibly comfortable and on message.

The point, really, is to persuade people to go.
I remember how much it meant to us in Dunfermline in the middle of Winter back in 2006 when what seemed like the entire party turned up to put in a shift or several. We were able to deliver that winning campaign because we had the help.
Jane Dodds is an incredibly talented and experienced MP. We need someone with her background on our benches. I’m going there a week on Thursday for 3 days because I want to see her in the House of Commons.
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Highlighting the need for better broadband connectivity across Powys

If you haven’t already been to Brecon and Radnorshire to help, please do so as soon as you can. Details are the foot of this post.

Jane Dodds and team have been out in the sun in Presteigne. It’s very good to see some distinguished members of the House of Lords in Jane’s coterie:


We can win this by-election, but we need your help! Please come to this lovely constituency NOW!

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Jane Dodds gives perfect response to Boris on British languages

Yesterday Boris Johnson said:

…too often there are parts of our country and parts of London still and other cities as well where English is not spoken by some people as their first language, and that needs to be changed…

Jane Dodds responded brilliantly:

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+++The six candidates standing at the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election

The River Wye near Builth Wells in the Brecon and Radnorshire Counsituency

The BBC reports that there are six candidates standing at the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election.

As expected, Plaid Cymru and the Welsh Green Party have, admirably, agreed not to stand candidates in order to have a united “Remain” candidate in the shape of Jane Dodds.

The six candidates are:

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Plaid Cymru stand aside for Lib Dem Jane Dodds in Brecon and Radnorshire

Plaid Cymru have announced that they will not be fielding a candidate in the Brecon and Radnorshire by-electiion.

From the BBC

Lib Dem leader Sir Vince Cable told the BBC the partnership between the two parties was “a very welcome development”, and it made sense that “the two strongest Remain parties in Wales are going to work together”.

Adam Price, the leader of Plaid Cymru, said it was a “major step”, but it was “the right thing to do”.

He added: “We are facing one of the most significant decisions, as to whether we are going to be seemingly yanked out of the European Union even without a deal.

“Under those circumstances it is in Wales’s interest and our common interest to work together and coalesce the support for the Remain side in Wales.”

Both leaders hinted this could be the start of further co-operation between the parties, but neither were willing to be specific.

“There is no doubt that the co-operation that this is generating could well lead to wider measures,” Sir Vince said.

Candidate, and Welsh LIb Dem leader Jane Dodds welcomed the move:

Vince told The Times (£) that victory would tell the new Conservative Prime Minister that the “Conservative Party is in desperate trouble.”

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YOU are needed NOW in Brecon and Radnorshire

I  have just spent 3 days in Brecon and Radnorshire working out of the Llandrindod Wells Lib Dem Office. The reception on doorsteps is very good, but there are a lot of people who have yet to decide whether they will back Jane Dodds or to stay at home. What the campaign needs in the next few weeks is data and that means lots of people knocking on doors.

Bluntly, not enough people are coming to help in this, the most likely Lib Dem by-election prospect of this Parliament. Jane Dodds, Leader of the Welsh Lib Dems is a top notch candidate and deserves much more support.

We need hundreds of people to go.

So my question to you, dear LDV reader, is when are you coming and how long can you stay?

If you want us to win this seat, then YOU have to offer your help. There is lots of canvassing to do, there are thousands of leaflets to deliver, there is clerical work in both the Brecon and Llandrindod offices to do.

I am utterly convinced we can win this seat. We held it almost continuously from 1985 to 2015 and the Welsh Assembly Member is Lib Dem Education Minister Kirsty Williams. The Tory candidate is the former MP who was found guilty of expenses irregularities and recalled by over 10,000 of his constituents. The Greens and possibly Plaid Cymru are not standing to boost the remain side and Labour haven’t won this seat for generations. The real threat probably comes from the Brexit Party, who may well mop up many of the Brexiteers as they did in the EU elections.

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If you’re not at Brecon and Radnorshire today, this is what you are missing….


And this:

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+++August 1st is date of Brecon and Radnorshire by-election – LDV video from the constituency

The government have just moved the writ for the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election – to occur on August 1st.

As I say in the video above, please come and help here as soon as you can! We can win this and it is a beautiful area to campaign in!

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“Sorry. I’m not a biker, I’m a Liberal” – Brecon campaign diary

Brecon and Radnorshire is an enormous constituency. By my reckoning it takes up about a seventh of Wales. Geographically, it is the largest constituency in Wales and England.

There are two HQs for the Brecon and Radnorshire campaign. The Brecon HQ is perhaps most accessible for those coming from the south of England. The HQ in Llandrindod Wells is probably a better bet for those coming from the north.

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Brecon campaign: Mountaineers welcome!


I knew I’d walked into a very geographically distinctive campaign this morning. The Brecon HQ gurus showed me the position of my delivery rounds using a large “Mountain Map” on the wall.

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VIDEO: The LDV team is helping now at Brecon and Radnorshire – please join us asap!

As you can see from the above video, I am Brecon and Radnorshire, busy helping Jane Dodds and her team over the next few days.

We can win this one. Please get yourself down here as soon as possible. We need help now. Help given early in the campaign is inordinately important.

There are two HQs – one in the south at Brecon and one in the north at Llandrindod Wells. They are both open every day from 10am until 7pm:

Brecon HQ: 26 High Street, Brecon, LD3 7LE

Llandrindod HQ: Haslemere, Park Crescent, Llandrindod Wells, LD1 6AB

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  • User AvatarFrank West 10th Dec - 7:32am
    There are plenty of countries where you can not get citizenship however well you speak the language and however long you stay but many people...
  • User AvatarRoger Billins 10th Dec - 7:30am
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  • User AvatarDavid Evershed 10th Dec - 1:21am
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    @ David Le Grice, "Both this and other instances make it clear that at least one person at the BBC (presumably a tribal labour supporter)...
Tue 10th Dec 2019