Thursday, 7 April 2016

By-election Preview: 7 April 2016

Three by-elections on 7th April 2016.  One covered on English Elections, one on Scottish Elections, and one below:

Caerphilly county borough council
Caused by the resignation of Labour councillor Colin Durham, citing work commitments.  He had served on Caerphilly council since 2012.

View of Cwmfelinfach
For the last electoral test in Wales before the fifth Welsh Assembly elections in 2016, we are in the lower Sirhowy Valley between Blackwood and Risca.  Ynysddu itself is an early-nineteenth-century mining village typical of the Valleys, and probably best known as the home town of the singer Ricky Valance.  Also within the division are the villages of Cwmfelinfach, the site of Nine Mile Point colliery which saw South Wales' first sit-in industrial action; the twentieth-century village of Wyllie; and Wattsville which gave its name to a Manic Street Preachers song.  Overlooking the valley is the mountain of Mynyddislwyn which once gave its name to a parish covering the whole area as well as to one of the division's famous sons, the Welsh-language poet "Islwyn" (or William Thomas).

In more modern times Islwyn has given its name to a parliamentary constituency which sent Neil Kinnock to Parliament for many years.  Ynysddu's election results have been more mixed with its two Noughties elections being close fights between Labour and Plaid that saw the parties split the division's two seats.  Labour pulled away in the 2012 election to beat Plaid 61-33, both the outgoing councillors polling well ahead of their running-mates.

Defending for Labour is Wattsville resident Philippa Marsden, a member of the Unite national committee, vice-chair of the Islwyn branch of Labour and chair of Newport Harriers athletics club.  Marina Pritchard, the second Plaid candidate here in 2012, tries again.  Also standing are Matthew Kidner for the Lib Dems and Joe Smyth for UKIP.

Parliamentary and Assembly constituency: Islwyn

May 2012 result Lab 719/559 PC 382/224 C 70/57
May 2008 result Lab 572/474 PC 552/411 C 144/99 Ind 112
June 2004 result PC 598/538 Lab 598/576