Tuesday, 10 November 2015

By-election Previews: 12 November 2015

Four local by-elections taking place this week - two covered here and another two covered over on the English Elections blog.

Conwy county borough council, Clwyd
Caused by the resignation of Plaid Cymru councillor Mike Rayner.

Of this week's two Welsh by-elections, one is in the north and one in the south.  We start with the northern one, which covers some beautiful countryside on the eastern side of the Conwy valley.  Eglwysbach, Llanddoged and Tal-y-cafn are the main villages within the ward, but it is probably best known for the beauty spot of Bodnant Garden, a National Trust property known for its Laburnum arch and national collections of magnolia, rhododendron and other plants.

Eglwysbach has a high councillor attrition rate and this is the division's third by-election in ten years.  The division has been held by Plaid with massive majorities since the December 2005 by-election.  Mike Rayner was first elected in the November 2010 by-election, beating the Tories 73-27 in a straight fight; that was the last contested election in Eglwysbach as Rayner was unopposed at the 2012 ordinary election.

Defending for Plaid is Austin Roberts, an Eglwysbach community councillor.  He is opposed only by the Tory candidate, Colwyn Bay town councillor Hazel Meredith.

Parliamentary and Assembly constituency: Aberconwy
ONS Travel to Work Area: Llandudno and Colwyn Bay

May 2012 result PC unopposed
Nov 2010 by-election PC 386 C 145
May 2008 result PC 591 C 80
Dec 2005 by-election PC 451 C 59 LD 47
June 2004 result Ind 562 Lab 150

Bridgend county borough council, Glamorgan
Caused by the resignation of Independent councillor Della Hughes.

Moving to south Wales, and we are in the Valleys - specifically, the Ogmore valley, which runs southwards to Bridgend and the Bristol Channel.  Ogmore Vale is the second highest of the wards in the valley, and is based on the coalmining village of the same name.  Almost entirely developed since the coming of the railway in 1865, Ogmore Vale and the neighbouring Wyndham are classic coalmining villages which have suffered badly from the closure of Wyndham Colliery in 1983.

Unusually for a coalmining division, Ogmore Vale has had some close results and no councillor here has been re-elected this century.  The division was narrowly won by Plaid in the 2004 election, with a majority of 23 votes of Labour; but Plaid's councillor lost his seat to Labour very convincingly in 2008.  Labour's councillor went on in turn to lose to Della Hughes in 2012 by a majority of 91 votes (55% to 45%).

This by-election has attracted a field of five candidates.  Defending for the independents is Ralph Shepherd, the Labour councillor for this division from 2008 to 2012.  The official Labour candidate is Dhanisha Patel, a legal assistant who according to her LinkedIn works in London. Also standing are Sally Hyde for UKIP, Tim Thomas for Plaid and Jamie Wallis for the Conservatives.

Parliamentary and Assembly constituency: Ogmore
ONS Travel to Work Area: Bridgend

May 2012 result Ind 505 Lab 414
May 2008 result Lab 724 PC 268
June 2004 result PC 423 Lab 400

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