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Boris Johnson’s majority cut to one seat after Liberal Democrats win UK by-election

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Britain’s pro-European Union Liberal Democrats won the parliamentary seat of Brecon and Radnorshire from the governing Conservatives on Friday, a blow to Prime Minister Boris Johnson in his first electoral test since taking office.

The loss reduces Johnson’s working majority in parliament to just one ahead of an expected showdown with lawmakers in the autumn over his plan to take Britain out of the European Union on Oct. 31 without an exit agreement if necessary.

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Johnson’s government already relies on the support of a small Northern Irish party for its wafer-thin majority, with just a handful of rebels in his own Conservatives needed to lose key votes.

The Liberal Democrats won the Welsh seat of Brecon and Radnorshire with a majority of 1,425 votes.

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“Boris Johnson’s shrinking majority makes it clear that he has no mandate to crash us out of the EU,” Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson, whose party now have 13 seats in parliament, said in a statement following the result early on Friday.

“I will do whatever it takes to stop Brexit and offer an alternative, positive vision … We now have one more MP (Member of Parliament) who will vote against Brexit in parliament.”

Wales, and the Brecon area, voted to leave the EU at the 2016 Brexit referendum, but it is also a region where sheep outnumber people and where the prospect of steep EU tariffs being slapped on Welsh lamb exports in a no-deal Brexit have prompted widespread concern among farmers.

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The Brecon vote was triggered when Conservative lawmaker Chris Davies was ousted by a petition of constituents after being convicted of falsifying expenses. Liberal Democrat candidate Jane Dodds won with 13,826 votes.

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Davies, who ran again for the Conservatives, came second with 12,401 votes. The Brexit Party came third with 3,331 votes, while the main opposition Labour Party was fourth on 1,680 votes.

The Liberal Democrats had previously held the seat from 1997 until 2015, when it was won by Davies. In the 2017 snap election he held the seat with a majority of just over 8,000 votes.

Johnson, who took office last week, has said he does not plan to hold an election before Britain leaves the EU but could be forced to if lawmakers try to stop him pursuing a no-deal exit by collapsing the government in a no confidence vote.

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The result in Brecon, where the combined vote for pro-leave parties outnumbered pro-remain, would likely add to calls for a possible Conservative-Brexit Party alliance in any upcoming election.

Pro-EU parties, including the Greens and Plaid Cymru, agreed not to stand in the Brecon election on Thursday to boost the Liberal Democrats chances by concentrating the support of ‘Remain’ voters behind one candidate.

The Brexit Party, led by prominent Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage, was only launched in April and rode a wave of anger over the government’s failure to deliver Brexit to sweep to victory in the United Kingdom’s European Parliament election in May.

“If the Brexit Party do hang around and the Conservative Party doesn’t deal with them effectively, ie. if we don’t show signs that we are leaving Europe by the end of October, then that could really have some repercussions for our vote not just in seats like this but across the UK,” Nick Ramsay, a Conservative member of the Welsh Assembly told Sky News.

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George Conway to give live analysis of impeachment hearings on MSNBC

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George Conway, the husband of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, will be giving analysis on President Donald Trump's impeachment hearings on one of the president's least favorite cable news networks.

MSNBC director of booking Jesse Rodriguez announced on Twitter Wednesday morning that Conway is joining "our live special coverage of the impeachment hearings" that are set to begin at 10 a.m. EST.

MSNBC EXCLUSIVE TODAY — George Conway joins our live special coverage of the impeachment hearings @MSNBC @gtconway3d

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Rick Wilson claims Jim Jordan will take extreme measures to derail impeachment hearings

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On Wednesday, former GOP strategist and Never Trump commentator Rick Wilson warned that Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) may have a plan to derail the public impeachment hearings by repeatedly blurting out the alleged name of the whistleblower who first detailed improprieties in President Donald Trump's phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky:

GOP aide tells me one plan discussed is for Gym Jordan and others to repeatedly use the whistleblower's name as one of several strategies to blow up the hearings and make the media report on his identity.

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Republicans resort to the most ludicrous possible strategy to defend Trump from impeachment

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There has been a lot of talk about "gaslighting" during the last three years, and for good reason. It truly does feel as if Donald Trump and his accomplices are trying to make us all believe we're losing our minds. And as all launch into this impeachment drama, it appears they'll be working overtime at that task.

This article was originally published at Salon

I've been talking a lot about the Republican strategy, and if one thing is clear it's that the president is giving them very little room to maneuver. Republicans would prefer to argue that Trump was wrong to do what he did on Ukraine, but it wasn't impeachable. Problem is, Trump won't stand for that. They wish they could say that he didn't understand what he was doing, but he is having none of that one either. So they are left with is the most fatuous of all defenses at this moment: There was nothing wrong with what the president said because he was only trying to clear up the corruption problem in Ukraine.

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