Thursday, 30 June 2016

By-election Preview: 30 June 2016

Five local by-elections this week.  Four covered over on the English Elections blog, and one below.

RHOOSE
Vale of Glamorgan council
Caused by the death of independent councillor Philip Clarke in a motorcycle accident.  A former commercial pilot, he had served since 2012.

Rhoose and District Social Club, Rhoose
Wales' southernmost mainland division, Rhoose is a large rural electoral unit in the centre of the Vale of Glamorgan.  Rhoose itself, just to the west of Barry, is a fast-growing commuter village for Cardiff with excellent transport links: it is the location for Cardiff Airport which takes up a lot of the division's acreage, and its railway station on the Vale of Glamorgan line reopened in 2005 with the longest name on the National Rail network: the 33-letter "Rhoose Cardiff International Airport".  Also within the ward is the rural community of Llancarfan, which in the sixth century was a clas (ecclesiastical community) associated with St Cadoc.

Philip Clarke had topped the poll in this two-seat division in the 2012 election with 37% of the vote, gaining his seat from the Conservatives whose slate had 34% (the other 30% went to Labour); the Tory loss was an embarrassing one as the councillor who lost his seat was the Leader of the Council, Gordon Kemp.  Clarke had previously fought the division in 2008 as the Plaid Cymru candidate, finishing as a distant runner-up four votes ahead of the Lib Dems' Eluned Parrott; Parrott would go on to be elected to the Welsh Assembly in bizarre circumstances in 2011, being promoted to first on the Lib Dem list for South Wales Central after the original lead candidate turned out to hold an office which disqualified him from membership of the Senedd.

Two independent candidates have come forward to succeed Clarke: Rachel Banner is a long-standing anti-devolution campaigner and was the main spokesperson for the "no" side in the 2011 referendum on giving law-making powers to the Senedd, while Adam Riley is campaigning to stop Vale of Glamorgan council closing Rhoose Library.  Former Vale of Glamorgan council leader Gordon Kemp, having lost his seat in 2012, wants it back and is the Conservative candidate.  The Labour candidate is Graham Loveluck-Edwards, a digital marketing manager, scrapyard director and chairman of Rhoose Runners.  Completing a crowded ballot paper are James Fyfe of the Pirate Party, the Lib Dems' Robin Lynn and the Plaid candidate Ian Perry.

Parliamentary and Assembly constituency: Vale of Glamorgan

May 2012 result Ind 882 C 810/727 Lab 713
May 2008 result C 1169/1143 PC 556 LD 552 Lab 520
June 2004 result C 1240/1085 Lab 729

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