Wednesday, 30 March 2016

By-election Preview: 31 March 2016

Five by-elections on 31 March - three covered over on the English Elections blog, one on Scottish Elections, along with one in Wales covered below.

Caerphilly county borough council
Caused by the death of Labour councillor Gina Bevan, who had served since 2012.

Moriah Street, Rhymney
The last two electoral tests in Wales before the Welsh Assembly elections in May are two local by-elections in the County Borough of Caerphilly.  We shall come back next week for the second one in Ynysddu division, but this week we are in Moriah, the south-eastern ward covering the town of Rhymney high up in the Valleys.  Moriah ward is on the east side of the valley covering much of Rhymney proper together with Abertysswg to the south, a turn-of-the-century village brought into existence by its pit, as with much of the Valleys.  With coalmining extinct in the Rhymney area all the usual problems exist, and Moriah is in the top 25 wards in the country for long-term sickness and disability (14% of the workforce).

The ward is as safe Labour as you might expect for an ex-coalmining area, and at the most recent local elections in 2012 Labour had 47% here to 28% for Plaid and 25% for an independent.

Defending for Labour is David Harse, the leader of Rhymney town council.  Despite their second place Plaid are not contesting this by-election; instead the opposition to Labour comes from independent candidates Peter Bailie and Mervyn Diggle, Nigel Godfrey who has somehow found ten people to nominate him as the Conservative candidate, and Ian Gorman of UKIP.

Parliamentary and Assembly constituency: Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney

May 2012 result Lab 698/543 PC 420 Ind 363
May 2008 result Lab 674/633 Ind 359
Sept 2007 by-election Lab 638 Ind 230
June 2004 result Lab 893/838 PC 273

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