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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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Ceredigion Conservative Association Elects a New Chairman

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On the 18th September, the Ceredigion Conservative Association held its Annual General Meeting, attended remotely by Conservative Members from across the County. The Association was formally re-established and Patrick Loxdale was elected as the new Chairman.

Commenting on his new position, Patrick says:

“ I am very honoured to be given the opportunity to serve in this position. I believe passionately in democracy and the democratic process. The Welsh Conservatives came second in Ceredigion in last year’s General Election, increasing the Conservative vote share by more than the national average. It shows that Conservative values are widely held by people of all ages in Ceredigion, and it is important that we have a functioning local association, and strong candidates to allow their opinions to be heard.”

Patrick, whose family have lived in Llanilar for five generations, previously served as a Medical Officer in The Royal Navy for almost twenty years, qualifying as a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon. From 2001 to 2016 he worked as an NHS Consultant in Devon. Moving back to Llanilar when his brother passed away, Patrick now farms from his family home and enjoys acquiring new knowledge in organic farming and rural management. Patrick adds:

“Ceredigion is a fantastic place to live, with a world beating environment. There are great opportunities for our future and our children’s security, prosperity and fulfilment here. Yet the Labour run Welsh Government continues to fail to grasp this and rarely provides any real focus outside of the M4 corridor! In next year’s Senedd election, the people of Ceredigion deserve a credible alternative choice; a choice that rejects both the on-going failures of Welsh Labour and the separatist ideology of Plaid Cymru. It is time for the people of Ceredigion to vote for the Welsh Conservatives.

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Walk-in testing now available for Aberystwyth town

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From today [Wednesday 30 September 2020], people in Aberystwyth with symptoms of COVID-19 can access testing (through a booked appointment) via a temporary walk-in facility in the town.

Hywel Dda University Health Board has arranged this extra testing service in addition to the drive through facility already in place at Canolfan Rheidol, because many residents in the town, including students, do not have their own private vehicle in order to access the drive-through testing facility.

The facility is located in the former university nursery building (behind, but not connected to, Padarn Surgery), Penglais Road, Aberystwyth and can be accessed via the walkway which will be clearly signposted to ensure people get to the right place.

Alison Shakeshaft, Director of Therapies & Health Science at Hywel Dda University Health Board said: “We have put this extra facility in place to make sure those in the local community without their own transport are not missing out on getting a test when they need it.

“We appreciate the efforts people are making to help protect each other during this challenging time. I urge everyone to remain vigilant and follow the rules, including wearing face coverings where required, keep social distancing, washing hands regularly, or using a hand sanitiser if hand washing is not possible, to help us live and work alongside the virus whilst containing its spread.”

Eifion Evans, Ceredigion County Council Chief Executive said, “We thank Hywel Dda University Health Board for providing extra testing service in Ceredigion. Residents and students alike are urged to utilise this service for the health of everyone living in our county and we are able to protect the vulnerable. This is a critical time for us to follow the rules and keep Ceredigion safe.”

Anyone who has symptoms of the virus (a new persistent cough, high temperature or loss/change of taste or smell) must book a test as soon as possible through the online UK portal at www.gov.wales/coronavirus.

Please make sure when booking your test that you select the option you need (for example, only book the walk-in centre if you are not able to travel in your own vehicle to the drive through facility). If you attend the walk-in centre you must wear a face covering.

University students with COVID-19 symptoms, when booking a test, are required to provide the temporary local address they are living at while they are students at Aberystwyth university and not their usual home address.

Please do not book a test if you do not have COVID-19 symptoms and do not turn up without booking first as it will not be possible to accommodate you without an appointment.

Please follow the latest self-isolation guidelines which can be found here.

Thank you for helping to #KeepCeredigionSafe.

For the latest news and updated from Hywel Dda University Health Board visit www.hduhb.wales.nhs.uk

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Adjustment to Safe Zones

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In August, temporary traffic orders were introduced so that Safe Zones for four Ceredigion towns could remain for up to 18 months subject to regular reviews so minor adjustments can be made.

In line with the evidence collected on the use of the towns, Ceredigion County Council feel the need to keep the safe zones in place for the time being. Aberaeron and New Quay will continue as they are.

In Cardigan the closures will change to 11am until 4:30pm Monday to Saturday. The safe zones will not be in place on a Sunday in Cardigan. These adjustments will come in to force on Sunday morning, 04 October.

In Aberystwyth, additional parking has been implemented for the disabled and blue badge holders in Chalybeate Street close to the Care Society Mobility Centre.

Further enhancements to provide better access for the disabled and blue badge holders will also continue to be explored.

Safe zones were introduced in Aberaeron, Aberystwyth, Cardigan and New Quay on 13 July to create safe and spacious areas for the public to visit and provide the confidence that social distancing can be maintained in these areas.

Safe zones will be in place until at least 01 November 2020 and reviewed fortnightly in line with the infection rate and available evidence.

More information can be seen on the safe zones web page: www.ceredigion.gov.uk/SafeZones

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