Monday, 11 April 2011

Montgomery and the Liberal Democrats

Rounding up on North Wales, 
it is unlikely that any other seats (see previous blogs) in the region will change hands. The seats that produced a small Labour majority last time will benefit from the tide that is flowing Labour’s way. 
The latest UK Poll conducted by YouGov for the Sunday Times has top line figures of CON 36%, LAB 43%, LDEM 9% – a seven point Labour lead, so pretty much par for the course in YouGov’s recent daily polls. 
The only other interesting seat is Ynys Mon. 
It is a seat that rarely rejects the incumbent, the last time this happened was in 1951 when Cledwyn Hughes won the seat for Labour from Megan Lloyd George the then Liberal member. It is not impossible for Ieuan Wyn Jones to suffer such a fate, but despite a decline in Plaid Cymru’s recent poll ratings there are no indications that Ynys Mon electors are about to pull the rug from under the Plaid leader’s feet.
The next region to be looked at in this survey of Wales’s most interesting seats will be Mid and West Wales.   It is in this area that many of the parties have most at stake and if any region could be described as the battle ground of the 2011 Welsh general election it is surely here. The first to be looked at is
2007 Assembly election results

Votes Cast
Bates, Mick
Liberal Democrat
Munford, Dan
Thomas, David
Plaid Cymru
Lawson, Bruce
Maycock, Rachel
Electorate 48,337 Turnout: 46.1%
A mainly agricultural county which stretches from the English border on the east to the Cambrian mountains in the West. Main towns Montgomery, Machynleth , Newtown and Welshpool. The number of Welsh speakers is 23.8% mainly living in the West of the constituency.

Political profile
This seat was once the Liberal/Liberal Democrat’s safest seat in Wales. They held the seat from 1880 until 2010 with it falling only once to the Conservatives between 1979-83 Delwyn Williams took the seat. 
Indeed from 1945 to 1956 Clement Davies held the seat and was  leader of the Liberal Party when in the rest of the UK, Liberals were a very scarce commodity. 
The seat turned its back on them when it fell to the Conservative Glyn Davies, in the 2010 General election. The vanquished sitting MP at the time was Lembit Opik. Many commentators thought that his hunger for publicity in showbizz circles may have contributed to his defeat. The electors giving him the opportunity to develop further his career in entertainment.
Having won the seat in Parliament the Conservatives now have it as one of their target seats for the Assembly. In this they may have been helped by the scandal surrounding the retiring Assembly Member Mick Bates who was found guilty of assault. 
The Conservatives will also benefit by the lack of an UKIP candidate. They polled well last time and their performance may well have prevented the Tory candidate winning in 2007.
These factors and the slump the Liberal Democrats are experiencing in the polls will make it an extremely difficult seat for them to hold, although with such a long Liberal tradition one can’t dismiss their chances completely.
Conservative gain
The candidates

Nick Colbourne
Nick Colbourne is a retired North Wales Police officer. He is married with two grown up daughters. He is currently the Chair of Wrexham County Labour Party and in 2007 was Agent for Karen Sinclair’s Assembly re-election in Clwyd South. An ex-County Councillor on Wrexham CBC. He is also a member of the Co-operative Party.
Russell George
Born in Welshpool and always lived in Montgomeryshire.  Russell is also an active member of the Hope Community Church in Newtown, Elected in 2008 to represent the Newtown Central ward on Powys County Council. 
Liberal Democrat
Wyn Williams
A local farmer and businessman, and Welsh speaker
Plaid Cymru
David Senior 
David Senior was born in Newtown in Montgomeryshire and now lives in Trewern with his wife and their seven year old  twins. He is a teacher of Science at Cruckton Hall School which specializes in the education of children from the Autistic spectrum. A Member of Welshpool Town Council. 

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