Tuesday, 4 May 2010

A Look @: Dyfed



Notional Majority

Swing Needed



Carmarthen East and Dinefwr

Adam Price




PC Hold

Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire

Nick Ainger




CON Gain


Nia Griffith




LAB Hold


Mark Williams




LD Hold

Preseli Pembrokeshire

Stephen Crabb




CON Hold

The 2008 council elections in Carmarthenshire are rather interesting. Labour lost 14 seats leaving them with 11 and Plaid Cymru gained 14 seats giving them 30, the largest number for a single party but not enough to gain control as there are 74 seats. There are three constituencies here, Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire and Llanelli.

Plaid Cymru's Adam Price, MP for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, is standing down this year to study in America. Jonathan Edwards has been selected to defend Plaid's position this time around. They enjoyed a majority of 6,551 last time although Labour candidate Christine Gwyther will hoping to give them a run for their money. Of the two I'd say that Edwards is the stronger candidate, his website is quite impressive and his biography shows him to be a solid candidate. I wouldn't say that Gwyther is a flaky candidate as such, but she was 'relieved' of the only post she'd really held, Welsh Agricultural Minister. She was supposed to be sorting out the beef crisis despite being a vegetarian; failure would predictably bring questions and accusations. Obviously it's also worth taking the council elections into account in which Plaid essentially won what Labour lost. I think they'll win here. PC Hold.

In Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire there is another close contest, this time between Labour MP Nick Ainger and Conservative candidate Simon Hart. This seat is #46 on the Tory target seat list so you can guarantee that they'll be campaigning hard here. Ainger has held this seat since its creation in 1997, however in this time his majority has decreased from 20,956 when he won the seat to 13,953 in 2005. Meanwhile the Tories increased their majority from 10,881 in 2001 to 12,043 in 2005. If these trends were to continue then it would be perfectly probably that the Tories would win with a small majority this time, especially when you factor in the current national issues and the polls. Hart seems to be quite a good candidate and whilst Ainger doesn't seem to have done anything wrong he also hasn't really done anything right enough to maintain support. I think that Hart will take this seat. CON Gain.

Llanelli's Labour MP Nia Griffith will be hoping to hold on to her seat after getting a majority of 7,234 in 2005. Plaid selected Myfanwy Davies as their candidate, and she does look quite promising, especially since the word on the street is that Plaid have been campaigning vigorously. As you can see from the council elections Plaid gained some decent ground from Labour, in this particular constituency there were 7 Labour councillors and 15 Plaid. There also seems to be some hope, for Plaid, that the LibDems might take some seats from Labour. I, personally, think that Plaid will gain some seats and that Labour will lose some seats but I don't think this will result in Plaid winning here, this time. It might be worth keeping an eye on for upsets but: LAB Hold.

Ceridigion council didn't see any major changes to their council after the 2008 elections. Plaid gained 3 seats to make 19, Labour lost one so now they don't have any, LibDem gained it so now they have 10. Plaid is the biggest represented party however they don't have control here as there are 42 seats and many independents.

LibDems Martin Williams challenged for Ceredigion constituency in the by-election of 2000, he lost it to Plaids' Simon Thomas by quite a stretch, 4,948 votes. In the following election of 2001 both contested the seat again and both increased their vote share, although Thomas won again. However in 2005 Williams beat Thomas by the slightest of majorities, 219. This year Penri James is running for Plaid, he's been campaigning hard according to both his campaign website and his Twitter feed. Meanwhile Williams has had a rise in popularity according to his majorities and seems to be generally popular out and about in Ceredigion. It's going to be tight here, definitely a seat getting a lot of attention. The council elections didn't change a great deal and even so Williams won last time despite Plaid holding more council seats. I could discuss the two candidates and this seat further but there's enough debate out there already. Instead I'll throw my hat in the ring and give it to...the LibDems, but I wouldn't put money on it! LibDem Hold.

In the Pembrokeshire council elections Labour lost 6 seats and the Tories won 4 in 2008. This means that Labour, Plaid and the Tories all have 5 seats. LibDems gained 1 so they have 3 and since none of these are close to a majority (there are 60 seats in total) an independent group holds the council.

The Preseli Pembrokeshire constituency is currently held by Tory MP Stephen Crabb. As you may well have heard, Mr Crabb has been a naughty boy. He is one of the MP's accused of 'flipping' his second home, although he alleges that the expenses office told him to. Last time around he beat Labours Sue Harman by 601 to win the seat for the Tories. Harman had replaced Jackie Lawrence who was selected off an all-woman shortlist and held the seat from 1997-2005, beating Crabb in 2001. This year's Labour candidate is another woman, Mari Rees, who was previously a Political candidate for the BBC and is currently a community development worker for the Welsh Assemblies 'Communities First' programme. Though she does seem to have the right foundations for a move into politics this is her first real foray and her lack of experience will be something that the Tories in this constituency may well mention. This constituency is also similar to Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire in that since 1997 Labour votes have steadily declined whilst Tory support has steadily increased. If this continued here we would see Crabb increasing his majority so if we factor in the decline of Labour nationwide then Crabb should be safe. Sadly there remains the issue of his house 'flipping' which might lose him some support but otherwise he seems to be popular, dealing with many local and even personal issues around his constituency, including campaigning against the closure of Withybush hospital, which remains open. I agree with the odds, CON Hold.


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