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Wednesday, 13 April 2011
Brecon: will the Lib Dems hold it?
BRECON & RADNOR
2007 Assembly election results
Electorate 55,482 Turnout: 51.8%
This is the largest constituency in Wales, it stretches from the heads of the South Wales Valleys in the south and up to the Cambrian Mountains and straggles the English border in the east. It is a sparsely populated rural constituency much of it covered by the Brecon National Park. There are 18.2% Welsh speaker living in the constituency mainly in the western parts of the constituency. The seat takes in the old coal mining area of Ystrad Gynlais in the upper Swansea valley which is on the northern edge of the old South Wales coal field.
The main industries are related to farming and agricultural, tourism is also important based on the old Victorian Spa towns. Hay on Wye which has the international book festival is also in the constituency.
This is a seat that has been held by the Liberal Democrats since the first Assembly elections in 1999 and at the last NAW election it was won with 52% of the vote.
The seat used to be regarded as a safe Labour seat between 1945 and 1979 but in recent years many Labour votes have gone to the Liberal Democrats to keep the Conservatives out. Classic tactical voting.
Now with the Liberal Democrats in coalition with the Conservatives in Westminster many of these ‘Labour’ votes are unlikely to be used tactically and are likely to stay with Labour to swell their vote. If this was to happen it would be at the Liberal Democrats’ expense.
Recent Welsh Polls have made for dismal reading for the Liberal Democrats. The last few months’ polling has shown them in single figures. If these were to be reflected in the constituency then the Tories would be the winners. But one should not underestimate the power of incumbency especially as in the case of Kirsty Williams who is also Leader of her party. The oxygen of publicity that goes with the job should be enough to see her get past the winning post, but it could be a very close run thing, and if the polls are to be believed she won’t have much of a party to lead after May.
Liberal Democrat narrowly get their noses past the post
All the candidates
Chris Lloyd is from Knighton, he stood in the General Election in the constituency where he came third with 4,096 votes. He attended John Beddoes High School in Presteigne and went on to study politics and law at Greenwich.
After graduating he worked for Louise Ellman, Labour MP for Liverpool Riverside and Chair of the Transport Select Committee in the House of Commons.
Chris Davies lives in Glasbury-on-Wye. For twenty years he worked as a rural Auctioneer and Estate Agent but now manages one of Mid Wales’s largest mixed veterinary practices based in Hay-on-Wye. He is married and has two young daughters.
He is well known in farming circles, being a main ring commentator at many agricultural shows including the Royal Welsh Show at Builth Wells.
Kirsty Williams is the Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats. She has been the Assembly Member for Brecon and Radnorshire since 1999. She studied for her degree, a B.A. Hons in American Studies at Manchester University and The University of Missouri.
Prior to politics she worked at Carmarthenshire College and for a small business in Cardiff as a Marketing Executive. She is married with three daughters, and lives on the family farm just outside Brecon.
She won the seat in 1999. She chaired the Assembly's Health and Social Services Committee between 1999 and 2003.
Gary Price is 32 years old and lives in Llandrindod Wells. He is a postman for the Royal Mail.
He was educated at the Brynderi Church in Wales School in Rhayader, Ysgol Trefonnen in Llandrindod Wells, and the Llandrindod Wells and Builth Wells High Schools.
An elected member of Llandrindod Wells Town Council for ten years, including serving as Mayor, and for seven years he has served as a Powys County Councillor.