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.