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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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Man accused of sexually assaulting six-year-old girls

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A FORMER Penparcau man is to stand trial accused of sexually assaulting two six year old girls.

Raymond Albert Wardall, 55, now of Blaenllynant Lodge, Queens Road, Aberystwyth, appeared at Swansea Crown Court for a plea and trial preparation hearing before Judge Paul Thomas.

Wardall denied a total of eight charges of sexual assault and sexual touching.

He will stand trial on November 27 and was granted bail until then.

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Alerts issued ahead of Storm Brian

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NATURAL RESOURCE WALES (NRW) is warning people that parts of the Welsh coast could see localised flooding as Storm Brian combines with high tides this evening and tomorrow.

The conditions could cause a storm surge, which in some areas could lead to overtopping of sea defences. Current predictions show that the worst affected areas are likely to be along exposed sections of the west coast of Wales from Southern Gwynedd to Llantwit Major.

High tides in these locations are expected to peak between 6am and 11am tomorrow (Oct 21).

NRW has already issued a number of flood alerts for the west coast, and is likely to issue flood warnings for Aberystwyth and Newgale later today. Further alerts or warnings for other areas will be issued as necessary.

24/7 Emergency response workers from NRW will be out at key areas of the coast over the next couple of day to monitor the high tides and condition of its sea flood defences.

NRW has also contacted its partner agencies such as local councils and the emergency services to ensure that appropriate responses are in place should the need arise.

Richard Hancox, from Natural Resources Wales said: “Conditions across the coastline are likely to be extremely dangerous this weekend and we urge people to stay clear, and avoid visiting the coast during this time.

“We know people are tempted to try and take photos of these storms, but it really isn’t worth putting your life at risk. Sea spray and flood water can knock you off your feet easier than you might think, and the large waves can send debris flying onto shore.

“If anyone is concerned about the risk of flooding to their home, please check to see if flood warnings are available in your area, and visit our website for advice on how best to prepare.”

Flood alerts and flood warnings are updated on the Natural Resources Wales website every 15 minutes.

Information and updates are also available by calling Floodline on 0345 988 1188. People can also register for free flood warnings either by calling the Floodline number or at NRW’s website.

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​Major bequests for Aber research ​

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TWO major legacies to support postgraduate research have been announced at Aberystwyth University’s Founders’ Day held in the Old College on October 13.

The University revealed that Eleanor and David James had donated £2m to the institution where they both worked for 35 years, while former student Margaret Wooloff has bequeathed £400,000.

Both bequests will be used to fund postgraduate research at the University, in line with the wishes of the benefactors.

The legacies were announced as part of the University’s now annual Founders’ event, which echoes the celebrations held in the town back in October 1872 when the first students arrived at Old College.

The Vice-Chancellor of Aberystwyth University, Professor Elizabeth Treasure, said: “It is extremely fitting that these very special bequests have been the focal point of this year’s Founders’ Day event. They remind us how the University has been supported since its early beginnings by the generosity of the people of Wales and the wider world.

“Eleanor and David James, and Margaret Wooloff all dedicated their lives to the furtherance of knowledge and their valuable contributions to education in Wales will live on in their legacies. We owe them a huge debt of gratitude.”

The Director of Development and Alumni Relations at Aberystwyth University, Louise Jagger, said: “There is a very strong bond between the University and our family of alumni across the world. Eleanor and David James and Margaret Wooloff were all active members of the Old Students’ Association during their lives and we are immensely grateful to them for their support over the years. Their generous legacies will now enable the scholars of the future to pursue their particular fields of expertise and undertake research with impact, which is integral to our mission as a leading University.”

Members of the local community joined staff and students at the Old College to mark Founders’ Day.

The guest speaker at the event was Ceredigion MP Ben Lake who said: “The story of how Aberystwyth University – or the University College of Wales as it was originally called – is one in which we can all take pride as a nation. Driven by the vision of its founders, the dream of establishing a college with University status in Wales was made possible thanks to the generosity of ordinary people. The roots and foundations of the University reflect our values in Wales and it is vitally important that we commemorate and celebrate this very special heritage.

“May I take this opportunity to congratulate Aberystwyth on being named recently as the University of the Year for Teaching Quality by the Good University Guide – a well deserved accolade which is testament to the dedication of all its staff.”

In July 2017, the Heritage Lottery Fund announced that it had earmarked £10.5m for ambitious plans to redevelop Old College in time for the University’s 150th anniversary in 2022.

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