THE CONSTITUENCY RESULTS are in and the election could not have gone much better for Labour, at least in the number of seats held.
As the Labour vote tumbled across Wales by around 7%, none of the opposition parties were able to make the step from being promising contenders to winners. Even where Labour shed a massive number of votes, such as in Blaenau Gwent, Labour hung on.
The big tests for Plaid Cymru, winning Llanelli and snatching Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire – the second and third most marginal seats in Wales – proved beyond them.
Lee Waters 10,267; Helen Mary Jones 9,885; Kenneth Rees 4,132; Stefan Ryszewski 1,937; Sian Caiach 1,113; Greg Smith 427; Gemma Bowker 355.
Helen Mary Jones was regarded as a hot favourite for victory in pre-election opinion polls, but where it counted – in the ballot box – the popular former AM came up short. Labour’s Lee Waters increased his predecessor’s slim majority to 382 after a hard fought ground war. One key local issue – the future of Trostre – strongly favoured the former journalist and Director of the IWA. In addition, resentment of the Plaid-led County Council combined with UKIP’s capacity to take non-Labour votes in parts of Llanelli town, were additional contributory factors to a widely unexpected victory.
Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire
Angela Burns 10,355; Marc Tierney 6,982; Simon Thomas 5,459; Allan Brookes 3,300; Chris Overton 1,638; Valerie Bradley 804
In Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire, confident noises, encouraged by opinion polls, were silenced as Plaid’s Education spokesperson in the last Assembly, Simon Thomas, failed to make headway against the incumbent Angela Burns.
In a smashing victory for the Conservative health spokesperson, Ms Burns nailed down a 3,373 vote majority over her nearest challenger, Labour’s Mark Tierney, with Simon Thomas 1,500 votes further back.
Chris Overton trailed in fourth with 1,638 votes, while former Pembroke Dock publican Allan Brookes received over twice as many votes for UKIP.
On a more positive note for Plaid Cymru, their candidates in Ceredigion and Carmarthen East and Dinefwr fared particularly well
Elin Jones 12,014; Elizabeth Evans 9,606; Gethin James 2,665; Felix Aubel 2,075; Iwan Wyn Jones 1,902; Brian Dafydd Williams 1,223
In the constituency she has represented for seventeen years, Elin Jones increased her majority, establishing a 2,400 vote lead over her closest challenger, the Liberal Democrats’ Liz Evans. Plaid’s health spokesperson had fought a tough campaign against her tenacious opponent, the County Councillor from Aberaeron.
Carmarthen East & Dinefwr
Adam Price 14,427; Steve Jeacock 5,727; Matthew Paul 4,489; Neil Hamilton 3,474; William Powell 837; Freya Amsbury 797
In Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, the towering figure of Adam Price gained a towering majority of 8,700 votes. Labour’s Steve Jeacock trailed in a very distant second. While Adam Price was a nailed on certainty to win from the outset, the scale of his victory, in which he seems to have hoovered-up core Labour votes.
Paul Davies 11,123; Dan Lodge 7,193; John Osmond 3,857; Howard Lillyman 3,286; Bob Kilmister 1,677; Frances Bryant 1,161
Preseli Pembrokeshire was, as widely predicted, a solid victory for incumbent AM, Paul Davies with a majority of 3,930 over Labour’s Dan Lodge. Both parties lost votes to UKIP candidate Howard Lillyman: Paul Davies shedding 3% and Labour 9% as Mr Lillyman polled 12%.
The impact of the changes to healthcare provision at Withybush Hospital and the unpopularity of those changes, has cemented Preseli Pembrokeshire as – for time being – a Conservative banker. There was no sign of Plaid Cymru’s John Osmond reaping any benefit either from his long-standing and consistent personal involvement in the battle to first preserve and then return services to Withybush, or from the decision of Chris Overton to stand in Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire.
The National picture after the constituency results
With only one constituency seat changing hands, it appears likely that Labour will not need a coalition partner to form a government. The fractured nature of its opposition and ability to cling on to key Labour/Conservative marginal constituencies mean that projections of significant seat losses by Carwyn Jones’s party were never likely to be met. In key marginal seats in North Wales, where the Conservatives had devoted considerable resources, UKIP stripped away votes from the Conservatives.
UKIP polled exceptionally strongly against Labour in the former industrial heartlands of the South Wales Valleys, regularly hitting 20% plus of the vote in those constituencies.
On an unremittingly grim night for the Liberal Democrats, the one highlight was Kirsty Williams’s performance in her Brecon and Radnor seat. Polling over half the vote and getting an 8,170 majority in the process. It seems very likely that UKIP’s likely success on the regional lists will see Ms Williams as the sole Liberal Democrat AM in the next Assembly.
During what must have been a disappointing night for her party, Leanne Wood, cashed in on her personal popularity to win RCT. The Plaid leader gained a majority of over 2,200 votes and 51% of the total number of votes cast. Her victory cost one of Labour’s senior figures, Leighton Andrews his seat. Mr Andrews, who had served as both Education and Public Services Minister in the Fourth Assembly, congratulated Ms Wood on her very personal victory.
Cardigan charity represented at food poverty launch
THE CARDIGAN-BASED charity Jig-so was represented at the Wales launch by the National Federation of Institutes (NFWI) on the issue of food poverty.
The event hosted by Mid and West AM Simon Thomas in the National Assembly considered some of the key challenges in addressing the issue.
Plaid Cymru’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs Simon Thomas said: “I was very pleased to welcome Jigso to the National Assembly. I think it is important we showcase some of the tremendous work being down in west Wales in our national parliament. I know Jigso has done much over the years to help families understand good nutrition and to help give access to sadly-needed food banks.”
“The WI used the event to launch their food matters campaign around food poverty and access to good food and we need to hear from all parts of Wales.”
This work follows on from the Great Food Debates project, undertaken in 2013, which saw WIs and county federations organise over a hundred food discussion events to consider the issue of food security.
Linda Grace, Chair of Trustees of Jig-So added: “We appreciated Simon Thomas’ invitation to attend this important event which he sponsored on behalf of the Women’s Institute who have a strong and long standing reputation on leading campaigns on “what matters”. Simon is a long time supporter of Jig-So’s work and our work on alleviating food poverty. A strong advocate of supporting community groups and small third sector bodies with an awareness of the rural context.”
Police say safeguarding children is ‘everybody’s business’
DYFED-POWYS POLICE is urging people to speak out if they spot signs of adults developing inappropriate relationships with children in their community.
Sunday, March 18, is the national awareness day for Child Sexual Exploitation led by the charity National Working Group.
Safeguarding children is everybody’s business. Any child can be sexually exploited no matter what culture, ethnicity, religion, background or gender.
To support this day, all this week officers and staff from the force’s child sexual exploitation investigators team, Police On-Line Investigation Team (POLIT), school officers and frontline officers have been targeting suspects and children identified as potential victims as well as visiting hotspot areas, schools and groups to encourage the public to think, spot and speak out about child sexual exploitation.
Dyfed-Powys police will be supporting the campaign through social media. Look out for the hashtags on Twitter: #CSE #CSEDay18 #HelpingHands.
Child Sexual Exploitation Coordinator for Dyfed-Powys Police, Linda Elias, said: “Child sexual exploitation is everybody’s business and is happening in our communities. This is not an issue isolated to more urban areas of the UK, we know it is happening locally and we are working hard to identify and protect those children who are vulnerable and also deal with the adults who are taking advantage of children.
“We have police officers trained to recognise the early signs of CSE that can identify children at risk, but we all have a role to play in ensuring our children are safe. Please, if you suspect someone in your family, social group of wider community is being exploited by any adult report it immediately to police by calling 101.
“Exploited children are almost always too frightened or ashamed to ask for help themselves, and members of the community including hoteliers, restaurant owners, community shops or youth facility leaders, are urged to speak out if they see when someone or something suspicious.
“By passing their concerns on to the police they could potentially save a child from the nightmare of CSE.”
Regional Dyfed-Powys SchoolBeat Programme Manager, Bethan James, said: “It is vital that we raise awareness of CSE with our children and the staff working in our schools. Designated school officers have been trained to deliver these sessions. School Community Police are delivering targeted age appropriate CSE sessions in schools as part of the wider SchoolBeat Cymru Programme.
They have the current, up to date knowledge and understanding in order to inform, prevent and protect our children.”
Detective Sergeant at the Police On-Line Investigation Team (POLIT), Mathew Davies, said: “Our team of specialist staff and officers, consisting of Detectives, Digital Media Investigators, Forensic Examiners and analytical staff, are targeting those who exploit children, carrying out warrants across the whole Dyfed-Powys force area. The work of POLIT is helping to speed up the investigation of offences and bring more offenders to justice.”
Nichola Rance, Coordinator for witness and victim service Goleudy, said: “Sadly, it is a fact that CSE is occurring in the counties of Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Powys. I fully support the national CSE awareness day as it helps to raise awareness of abuse of children that should not be ignored. I would urge anyone who has witnessed CSE or is a victim of CSE to contact Goleudy for support. We are an independent service for victims and witnesses of crime and we have highly skilled advisors who can listen and support people through distressing times in their lives.”
Spot the signs of CSE:
- Being secretive
- He or she stops engaging with their usual friends
- Associating with older men or women
- Going missing
- Being defensive about where they are and what they are doing
- Receiving odd calls or messages
- Possessing new, expensive items that they may have received as gifts
To report CSE in your community call 101 today.
For more information on CSE Awareness Day visit: www.stop-cse.org.
Seven-week-old puppy dumped in garden
RSPCA CYMRU is appealing for information after a seven-week-old puppy was found dumped in a shoebox.
The young Staffordshire bull terrier type pup – who has now been named Molly – was found in a garden at Bro Llethi, Llanarth, on Monday (March 12).
RSPCA inspector Keith Hogben said: “This small defenceless puppy has been callously abandoned on her own in a shoebox. The caller very kindly took care of the puppy until we arrived. It is believed she was dumped between the hours of 3pm and 6pm on Monday.
“She was taken to a vet for an assessment and has a fracture growth plate injury on her leg which must be uncomfortable for her so will require treatment. However, she’s doing okay despite her ordeal and is now safe in RSPCA care. We’re keeping a close eye on her.”
The animal welfare charity is now appealing for information to try and find out who abandoned this dog.
RSPCA inspector Hobgen added: “It is just so sad that someone felt that they had no option other than to leave this poor pup out in the cold on her own.
“If anyone has any information about this incident we urge them to contact the RSPCA on 0300 123 8018. Calls are treated in confidence.”
To help the RSPCA continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals in desperate need of care, you can donate online.
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