Friday, 8 April 2011

A Look at Clwyd West

Another look at a seat in the North Wales region that is likely to be highly contested in the Welsh General election. A win here could contribute to Labour getting an overall majority.
CLWYD WEST
2007 Assembly election result


Party
Votes Cast
Percentage
Millar, Darren
Conservative
8,905
34.0
Pugh, Alun  John
Labour
7,309
27.9
Edwards, Phil
Plaid Cymru
7,162
27.3
Croft, Simon
Liberal Democrat
1,705
6.5
Nicholson, Warwick
UKIP
1,124
4.3
Electorate: 57,370 Turnout: 45.7%
This seat is covered by parts of two local authority areas Conwy County Borough Council and Denbighshire County Borough Council and contain the coastal towns of
Colwyn Bay, Rhos on Sea, Abergele,  and Kinmel Bay which contain the bulk of the voters. This population has a large number of elderly and retired many of whom originate from the the North West of England and tend to get their news from North West of England television. 
The last census indicated a significant number of Welsh speakers (28.2%) many living in the rural villages that are inland, with the historic town of  Ruthin at their centre.
Tourism  plays a significant part in the economy as does agriculture. A significant employer is the  North Wales Police who are based in Colwyn Bay .

Political Profile
Clwyd West is a marginal seat that until 1997 was regarded as a solid  true blue Conservative seat. However, boundary changes made it a less predictable seat. In the Assembly elections it was held by Labour until 2007. 
In Westminster elections Clwyd West was won by Labour in the Blair landslide of 1997 and held by them until David Jones the junior Welsh Office minister won the seat back in 2005. He increased his vote to 15,833 in the 2010 general election gaining a 6,419 majority over Labour who were in second place.
Darren Millar the Conservative candidate and the existing  AM has a majority 1,596. This margin is well within the current poll differences between the two parties. Even taking into account the Conservatives benefit, as is likely, from the lack of an UKIP candidate and the advantage of incumbency, the seat is still vulnerable to Labour.
Labour have never succeeded in pushing their vote above 35% in this seat and this is partially because Plaid Cymru have always polled well. However, recent polls have indicated that Plaid Cymru’s vote has taken a dip with Labour being the beneficiary. If this national polling phenomona is replicated here it might just tip the balance in Labour’s favour. The result will be close Labour could  edge in front if they get their vote out.

PREDICTION
CLOSE BUT LABOUR GAIN FROM CONSERVATIVE

Candidates
Labour 
Crispin Jones
Crispin Jones is the Principal consultant with Gwerin Associates, a Fuel Poverty consultancy service based in North Wales. Until 2006, he was Wales Director for eaga, who currently manage the Welsh Assembly Government’s Home Energy Efficiency Scheme, and is a previous Director with Warm Wales, a Community Interest Company providing managed energy efficiency services to Local Authorities and Housing Associations across Wales. 
Conservative
Darren Miller
Darren was elected to the National Assembly for Wales in May 2007.  He currently serves on the opposition front bench as Shadow Minister for the Economy and Transport, chairs the Assembly's influential Public Accounts Committee and sits as a member of its Enterprise and Learning Committee. Darren also Chairs the Cross Party Group on Faith, and the Cross Party Group on the Armed Forces and Cadets, both of which he is a founder member. Prior to his election to the Assembly, Darren was a manager for an international charity.  He was a member of Conwy County Borough Council, the North Wales Police Authority and the North Wales Fire and Rescue Service. Lives in Kinmel Bay with his wife Rebekah and two children, Mary and Toby. 
Liberal Democrat
Brian Cossey
Brian Cossey is a Justice of the Peace and a member of the Bay of Colwyn Town Council.
Worked for Royal Bank of Scotland (formerly Nat-West Bank) for 32 years. Took early retirement in 2002 as a Senior Banking Manager. He is Chairman of the Old Colwyn Environment Federation which tries to enhance the built and green environment of the village in which he lives. Married with one daughter.
Plaid Cymru 
Eifion Lloyd Jones
Eifion Jones is 62 years old and has lived in the Clwyd West constituency for 30 years. He is married with children and has previously fought elections for Plaid Cymru in Clwyd West in 1987 and 1992.
Eifion’s background is in journalism and broadcasting for HTV, including producing programmes and working across communities in the north of Wales as a reporter. He headed Bangor University ’s Department of Media and Communications, and is now involved in education as a consultant on Welsh-medium higher education. 

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