Tuesday, 4 May 2010

A Look @: Gwynedd



Notional Majority

Swing Needed




Hywel Williams




PC Hold

Dwyfor Meirionnydd

Elfyn Llywd




PC Hold

Ynys Môns

Albert Owen




PC Gain


The 2008 council elections in Gwynedd resulted in losses for all of the main parties Plaid Cymru lost 8 seats, the Liberal Democrats lost 1 and Labour lost 4 resulting in 35, 5 and 4 seats respectively. This meant that Plaid lost their control of the council although it still secured the most seats. The constituencies of Arfon and Dwyfor Meirionnydd are within this council.

Arfon is a new seat, a consequence of the boundary changes. It replaces Caernarfon. Plaid Cymru's Hywel Williams, MP for Caernarfon, will be standing for this new seat. He entered office in Caernarfon in 2001 with a majority of 3,511 over Labours' Marcus Eaglestone, he increased this again to 7,538 against the same candidate in 2005. Labour should still be the providing the biggest challenge with their new candidate Alun Pugh. Pugh was a member of the Welsh assembly from 1999 to 2007. However I don't think he will pose much more of a test than Eaglestone, especially given Labours current popularity generally. PC Hold.

The constituency of Dwyfor Meirionnydd is also new due to boundary changes replacing the previous Meirionnydd Nant Conwy seat. Like Williams, Plaid's Elfyn Llywd intends to win this new seat in place of his old one. Llwyd has held Meirionnydd Nant Conwy since 1992, so he'll be a tough one to move regardless of the boundary changes. Last time he won with a majority of 6,614. The only person standing from last time is UKIP's Francis Wykes, despite receiving just 466 votes. I can't see anyone providing much of a problem for Llwyd, especially since voters seem split between the other parties so there isn't really a clear contender for his seat. PC Hold.

Ynys Môns has a council of its own. In the 2008 Council elections Plaid gained 2 to make 8 and Labour gained 5 when they previously had none. The Tories and Lib Dem each gained 1 seat to make 2. In a council of 40 seats this leaves many independent candidates and no overall control.

The boundaries of Ynys Môns encompass the Isle of Ynys Môns (Anglesey) itself and the smaller Ynys Gybi (Holy Island) and therefore the boundaries remain unchanged. Current MP Albert Owen has had a tough time of it so far, proving resilient with majorities of just 800 in 2001 and then 1,242 in 2005. The other two constituencies in this county are held by Plaid and they're clearly putting up a fight here too. Plaid previously held this seat from 1987-2001 and they have always received a fairly large number of votes despite coming second recently. In the council elections all of the parties gained at the expense of the independent candidates. Though Labour gained the most Plaid also gained and are still ahead. This said were levels of support to echo this in the general election Labour would be expected to hold this seat. On the other hand the present must also be taken into account and the current national situation would suggest that Labour would lose votes this time around.

Owen has worked hard to ensure that Anglessey secure the Wylfa B nuclear power station which will create many jobs, the old power station is due to close this year. As for what, if any, affect this will have on the voters we shall have to wait and see. A concern for me is that whilst he has won some tough battles in elections so far, getting quite small majorities, he doesn't seem to have gained much ground since. In fact he received less votes to win the last election than he did when he lost to Ieuan Wyn Jones in 1997. Meanwhile Plaids candidate, Dylan Rees, is an actively involved local and has spent his career thus far in the police. He has been Holyhead's district inspector for 5 years. With this in mind I can imagine he is quite well known and probably quite popular, after all the population of Anglesey is only about 69,000. Still I think that whichever way you look at it this is going to be hard to call, it is a seat which has attracted quite a lot of attention for this reason. I still think that Plaid will just win it though making it three Plaid constituencies in Gwynedd. I'll stick to my guns and call it a PC Gain.


  1. Ynys Mon and Gwynedd are separate unitary authorities so your analysis based on council seats doesn't apply to the Ynys Mon constituency.

  2. Thanks for pointing that out, clearly having a Ynys Mons/Anglesey mare! As you can see I've updated it, although my prediction, though hesitant, remains.