Monday, 3 May 2010

A Look @: Glamorgan (Part II)



Notional Majority

Swing Needed




Hywel Francis




LAB Hold


Peter Hain




LAB Hold

Swansea East

Sian James




LAB Hold

Swansea West

Alan Williams




LD Gain


Martin Caton




LAB Hold

Labour kept a firm hold on the council of Neath Port Talbot, within which the constituencies of Aberavon and Neath can be found. Labour gained 1 for a total of 37 seats out of 64. Plaid Cymru also gained 1 to come second with 11 seats.

So, it doesn't get much more Labour than Aberavon. This seat is super safe Labour, the odds tell the same story. Hywel Francis has held the seat since 2001 and his last majority of 13,937 is actually modest compared to the usual Labour majority here. The Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru and Conservatives have most of the remaining votes divided between them, so there is no real clear competitor. All of these parties are also fronting new candidates this time around. Francis seems to have a good grasp on local issues and is generally popular, he did have to pay some expenses money back for 'over payment for food claims', although in the grand scheme of things £618.05 is measly compared to most and won't make a spot of difference. Captain Beany has quite a task on his hands if he thinks he stands a chance here (although I suppose he is red, which is a start), LAB Hold.

Meanwhile in Neath Port Talbots' other seat, Neath, Labour also look safe, although not as safe. Peter Hain has been MP here since 1991. He has also held a host of roles, Leader of the House of Commons, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Work and Pensions and, presently, Wales. In 2008 he stood down as Secretary of state for Work and Pensions and Wales to clear his name following a 'donation's scandal' in which he failed to declare donations for his Labour Party Leadership campaign. With regards to expenses, whilst he didn't have to pay anything back he did attempt to claim on two mortgages, both in his constituency. Despite these claims it's another case of divided opposition in Neath, with the LibDems, Tories and Plaid all taking a share. So even if Hain does lose some votes over these issues he won't lose enough to lose the seat. LAB Hold.

Labour lost 2 seats in Swansea's 2008 council elections to make 30, Liberal Democrats gained 3 to make 23 seats. In a council of 32 seats no party secured a majority. Three constituencies are found within Swansea's council, Swansea East, West and Gower. Interestingly the BNP will be standing in all three constituencies, under the alternative name of 'Support our troops, bring them home'. They will apparently be recognisable on the ballot paper due to the party's logo. This has attracted a little attention as you can imagine.

Swansea East is currently held by Labour, and has been since 1922. Just five MP's have carried the Labour baton in this time, the current being Sian James. The first woman for Swansea East, she gained the seat in 2005 and is hoping to keep it. This is clearly considered a safe Labour seat. James secured a good majority last time and has kept reasonably clean throughout the expenses scandal tallying up £1,105.64, mostly in council tax overpayments, which she has repaid in full. Rob Speht is running again for the Liberal Democrats, last time he got 6,208 votes and he'll be hoping to add to that, especially given the rise in LibDem popularity. I doubt he'll gain enough votes to take this seat though. LAB Hold.

Swansea West sees current MP Alan Williams standing down, deservedly, aged 79. He has held the seat since 1964, becoming the longest serving MP in 2005. The Telegraph reported him as having the fifth-lowest expense claims, despite living in Swansea. In 2007 it was decided that Geraint Davies will be running for his seat this year. Davies was formally an MP for Croydon Central from 1997 until 2005 when Conservative Andrew Pelling won the seat. Davies biggest competition will be the Liberal Democrats with Peter May. This is his first time running for parliament; he is a local councillor for Swansea and has lived in the area for 20 years as a science and maths tutor. He has also been active in local issues such as saving post offices and restoring police stations. Last time around the LibDems managed 9,564 seats with René Kinzett, 4,269 short of Labour. The breakdown of the council elections in Swansea West gives LibDem 17 councillors and Labour 6. It's going to be close but this time around I think that maybe with the surge of LibDem support nationwide and the council results May may (ha) have a chance. LibDem Gain.

Finally Martin Caton, the MP for Gower, will be running again having held the seat since 1997. Whilst Caton should be looking at holding this seat it is the only one in Swansea council that I think the Tories will really be contesting, so imagine they'll have a real push here. That said most of the opposition votes seemed to be shared between Tory (10, 083) and LibDem (7,291) I can't really see enough people getting behind one of these to get Labour out. Tories have the most chance of beating Labour but I doubt they will. The majority will be reduced but it will still be held by Labour. LAB Hold.


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