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Carmarthenshire: Labour, Conservative and Plaid win seats

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Alan Evans reporting

ON AN EXTRAORDINARY night in British politics Carmarthenshire was no different to many parts of the U.K. with twists, turns and surprises.

Carmarthenshire voters returned Nia Griffith (Labour), Simon Hart (Conservatives) and Jonathan Edwards (Plaid Cymru) as their MP’s for the next 5-years.

Jonathan Edwards said: “It’s an incredible feeling, we’ve been working for this moment for five years. The work began to win this the night after the election in 2010. All that work has come to fruition. For the Conservative party to talk of the common interest within the UK doesn’t tally with their election campaign where they have demonised the people of Scotland and the people of Wales for daring to think that they could have a different future to what Westminster serves us time after time. They have boxed the Labour party into a corner. The Westminster elite views our country as a second-class nation and that is why we need more Plaid Cymru MP’s in Westminster fighting our corner. It is only going to be three this time.”

Whereas in Scotland the SNP took the majority of seats. Here in Wales Plaid Cymru only managed to hold on to their three existing seats. Ceredigion was a close call with only a 3,067 difference between Plaid and the Lib Dems. The surprise of the night was UKIP’s Ken Rees pushing the Conservatives represented by Selaine Saxby into fourth place. One can only speculate about the result had those voters opted for Plaid Cymru. Plaid’s Jonathan Edwards increased his majority in Carmarthenshire East and Dinefwr taking 15,140 votes as opposed to Labour’s Callum Higgins taking 9,541 votes. It was a similar story only in reverse as Labour’s Nia Griffith took 15,948 votes as opposed to Plaid’s Vaughan Williams taking 8,853 votes.

Labour’s Nia Griffith said: “I’m very honoured to be re-elected. I see this as a duty and a real responsibility. Obviously I will be working with everybody whether it is working with colleagues in Parliament or whether its working with the community here it is not something you do on your own. This is part of being a team, part of being pat of your community and trying to get your very best for them. It was a very challenging situation and it was an interesting selection of candidates. Things can change very quickly anyone of those could have taken a considerable number of votes from me. I’ve had experience so perhaps that has helped Working with people in the community is the way forward.”

Sealed with a kiss: Jonathan Edwards (Plaid Cymru) celebrates his win

Sealed with a kiss: Jonathan Edwards (Plaid Cymru) celebrates his win

In a very emotional acceptance speech Jonathan Edwards told The Herald: “The story of the night undoubtedly is events in Scotland and the landslide victory of the SNP. All the political ingredients that have led to the result in Scotland also exist here in Wales. An arrogant and self-serving Labour establishment and a rising progressive alternative in the national party. What’s happened in Scotland tonight will happen in Wales. It is the duty of the exciting crop of young politicians emerging through the Plaid Cymru ranks to achieve that goal beginning next year in the National Assembly elections. The job of Plaid Cymru MP’s will be to ensure the best possible deal for Wales and our communities in the new political landscape. The old union is now dead. If the British state is to survive a new arrangement between the countries of the UK will have to be forged. I look forward to returning to Westminster with a strong mandate given to me by my home communities, an increased majority. I’d like to close by thanking my opponents and wishing them the very best for the future. I’d like to dedicate this victory to nurse Price from Llandybie who passed away earlier this week aged 94 and Irene Lloyd from Brynamman who died last week. Both Plaid Cymru stalwarts for their entire adult lives. Nights like this for Plaid Cymru are only possible due to the contribution of people like them.”

Labour have been the biggest losers on the night and there were strong views expressed by many of the candidates particularly on the labour led local authority. Candidates told me that discussions on the local authority had been a key issue on the doorstep.

Selaine Saxby (Conservative) said: “Someone needs to hold the council to account for the state they have allowed the town centre to get into.”

Vaughan Williams (Plaid Cymru) said: “93-years of one party is a long time and there is an ambition for change in the town.

Dr. Sian Caiach (People First) said: “There are a lot of local issues. People are concerned with council cuts. People need proper representation. Our policy is to consult people and reflect their views. We seem to have an officer led council. Some people have allowed themselves to be talked into things, which they shouldn’t have. If you have a one party state and that party is not an excellent party it is easy for things to become stale.”

Matthew Paul (Conservatives) said: “People are realising that labour have taken things for granted in too much of Wales for too long. It is a message to Labour. Even if you have places where you thought you could pin a red rosette on a donkey and still come back with a result that situation may not last forever.”

Nia Griffith told The Herald: “Obviously there has been this review and the council is going to try to implement that. It is a bit like turning round the Titanic. It’s not going to be that easy to do it all immediately. Rebuilding a reputation takes a very long time. They recognise there is a huge amount of work to do. There are no silver bullets for the town centre. I don’t think it’s easy to find solutions because we all know that everybody wants their cake and eat it. They want to shop on the Internet, they want to shop at Trostre and at the same time they still expect the shops in the town centre to be there.  Quite clearly the trade is in three different places now. It is not going to be easy and we do have to think of different ways we want to make our town centre a place we want to go to. It is important to take local people’s ideas into consideration.”

The results were as follows:

Llanelli

Nia Rhiannon Griffith (Labour) 15,948

Vaughan Williams (Plaid Cymru) 8,853

Ken Rees (UKIP) 6,269

Selaine Saxby (Cons) 5,534

Cen Phillips (Lib Dems) 751

Guy Smith (Green Party) 689

Sian Caiach (People First) 407

Scott Jones (TUSC) 123

 

Carmarthen East and Dinefwr

Jonathan Edwards (Plaid Cymru) 15,140

Callum Higgins (Labour) 9,541

Matthew Paul (Conservatives) 8,336

Norma Woodward (UKIP) 4,363

Ben Rice (Green Party) 1,091

Sara Lloyd-Williams (Lib Dems) 928

 

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Baroness visits New Quay RNLI

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ON Friday afternoon (4 October) Baroness Bloomfield of Hinton Waldrist paid a special visit to New Quay Lifeboat Station to meet key crew members and to see the workings of the all-weather lifeboat station.

Having recently been appointed as the House of Lords’ spokesperson for the Office of the Secretary of State for Wales, Baroness Bloomfield was keen to visit the lifeboat station while passing through Ceredigion.

Baroness Bloomfield said, “The RNLI is a shining example of a voluntary organisation that goes above and beyond to save lives, serving as an inspiration to us all.

“It was an honour to meet the brave crew and lifeguards and those working behind the scenes at the New Quay RNLI Lifeboat Station. Their work to educate, supervise and rescue anyone at risk at sea across the UK and internationally is truly priceless.”

Roger Couch, New Quay RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager added, “It was great to show the Baroness around the station and chat about our operations here in Cardigan Bay. We hope she can visit again soon.”

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Aberystwyth University hosts debate on the Constitution Reform Group’s Act of Union Bill

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WITH Halloween and Britain’s impending departure from the EU looming, and with it a potential constitutional crisis between the four nations of the UK, a proposed new constitutional settlement for the UK will be the focus for debate at Aberystwyth University on Thursday 24 October 2019.

Joining leading constitutional expert Sir Paul Silk to discuss The Constitution Reform Group’s Act of Union Bill will be former Labour Ministers Lord Hain and Gisela Stuart and former First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones AM.

The Bill has been described by The Times journalist Iain Martin as “the first attempt to devise a coherent plan for what happens after many powers return from the European Union”.

It proposes a new federal structure for the UK and establishes the principle of self-determination for the nations and parts of the United Kingdom.

It also makes the case for radical reform and possible abolition of the House of Lords as well as a fairer distribution of tax collected by the centre.

Hosted by the University’s Centre for Welsh Politics and Society and chaired by Professor Emyr Lewis, Head of the Department of Law and Criminology, the debate takes place at Old College and runs from 6 until 8pm.

For more information, see attached news release or go online: https://www.aber.ac.uk/en/news/archive/2019/10/title-226343-en.html

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New Young Ambassador leaders trained

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104 new young Ambassadors attended training at three different venues across Ceredigion to begin their Young Ambassador leadership pathway.

The Young Ambassador leadership pathway is implemented across all schools in Ceredigion and begins at Bronze level, which starts in years five and six at primary school and progresses in secondary school with the levels of Sports Crew, Silver, Gold and Platinum.

The Young Ambassador programme, delivered by Ceredigion Actif, aims to empower and inspire young people to become leaders through sport and help encourage their peers to become hooked on keeping fit.

Aberystwyth Bronze Young Ambassadors, Lampeter Bronze Young Ambassadors, Bro Sion Cwilt Bronze Young Ambassadors

During the training days, they prepare their ‘pledges’ for the year ahead and these action plans are announced to the rest of the school’s pupils and their parents. They then return to school and start organising activities and events to encourage more children to get active.

The training includes information on picking teams, how to encourage everyone to get involved, Disability Inclusion and Ceredigion Actif programmes such as Fit in 5 and the QR Codes which encourage skill development in early years.

All Bronze Young Ambassadors are tasked with arranging sports and skills for other year 5 & 6 pupils at sports festivals held around the county. Autumn term festivals are for years 5 & 6, Spring term festivals are for years 3 & 4 and Summer term festivals are for foundation phase children. They are also required to run lunchtime and after school clubs back at their schools.

Alwyn Davies is Active Young People Manager for Ceredigion County Council. He said “We’re really excited with this new group of young leaders. Now that they’ve attended the training days, they are ready to start delivering opportunities back at their schools. They will mostly lead lunchtime and after school clubs with the aim of getting more children active, creating an interest in health and wellbeing and improving children’s confidence to try a wide range of activities.

“In their first month, we will be asking them to work with us to provide a range of activities at our multi sports festival. This will be a useful way of mentoring them slowly as they start to achieve results. They have received their polo shirts and are eager to start on the leadership ladder.”

Councillor Catrin Miles is the Cabinet member responsible for Leisure Services. She said, “I’m very impressed to see the vast amount of young people interested in being Young Ambassadors. Fitness and well-being are key to the development of young people, and these new young Bronze Ambassadors will be role models in Ceredigion schools. I wish them the very best.”

For more information, or to learn more about opportunities that are available to you, go over to Ceredigion Actif’s Facebook and Twitter pages or visit their website on www.ceredigionactif.org.uk. You can also contact Alwyn Davies, Active Young People Manager on 01970 633 695 or by e-mail on Alwyn.Davies@ceredigion.gov.uk.

 

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