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Liberal Democrats' election win pressures Johnson on EU exit

By Nicholas Sakelaris
Activists rally in London on March 23 at a demonstration calling for a second referendum on whether to leave or remain part of the European Union. File Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/fc82ccc59be740de8047558ac6352de6/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Activists rally in London on March 23 at a demonstration calling for a second referendum on whether to leave or remain part of the European Union. File Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 2 (UPI) -- Liberal Democrats in Britain have secured a Parliament seat in British by-elections, reducing the Conservative Party majority to just one.

Candidate Jane Dodds defeated Conservative Chris Davies in the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election Thursday, giving the The Liberal Democrat Party a 13th seat.

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The victory came a week after Boris Johnson took over as British prime minister, and reiterated plans to withdraw Britain from the EU on schedule Oct. 31, with or without a trade agreement.

"My very first act as your new MP when I get to Westminster will be to find Mr. Boris Johnson, wherever he's hiding, and tell him to stop playing with the future of our community and rule out a no-deal Brexit," Dodd said.

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Thursday's was the quickest by-election defeat for any new prime minister since World War II.

Conservative Party Chairman James Cleverly told BBC Radio Davies' was a close defeat in a by-election the Liberal Democrats "expected to romp home comfortably." He added that Johnson now has a "clear mandate."

"I do think it's incumbent on all Conservatives to support the prime minister in what has been a long-standing Conservative policy," Cleverly said.

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The Labor Party, led by Jeremy Corbyn, had its vote share drop by 12.4 percent after it was beaten by the Brexit Party.

"The country doesn't have to settle for Boris Johnson or Jeremy Corbyn," Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson said. "There is another positive alternative that is the Liberal Democrats who are winning again and on the up.

"Boris Johnson's shrinking majority makes it clear that he has no mandate to crash us out of the EU."

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The Plaid Cymru and Greens Parties struck a deal with Liberal Democrats on common ground for remaining in the European Union. Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price renewed calls for a second referendum.

Dodds said the people of Brecon and Radnorshire sent a powerful message.

"People are desperately crying out for a different kind of politics," she said. "There is no time for tribalism when our country is faced with a Boris Johnson government and the threat of a no-deal Brexit."

U.S. President Donald Trump spoke with Johnson by phone Thursday about multiple issues, including trade, the White House said. The two will meet later this month at the G7 summit in France.

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