2015 Result:
Conservative: 4123 (11%)
Labour: 3615 (9.7%)
Lib Dem: 13414 (35.9%)
Plaid Cymru: 10347 (27.7%)
Green: 2088 (5.6%)
UKIP: 3829 (10.2%)
MAJORITY: 3067 (8.2%)

Category: Marginal Liberal Democrat seat

Geography: Wales, Dyfed. The whole of the Ceredigion council area.

Main population centres: Aberaeron, Aberarth, Aberporth, Aberystwyth, Borth, Cardigan, Lampeter, Llanarth, Llanddewi Brefi, Llandysul, Llanilar, Llanrhystud, New Quay, Penparcau, Tregaron.

Profile: Ceredigion is a large rural seat in the west of Wales. It is mostly uninhabited moorland and mountains with the population concentrated in the strip along the Cardigan bay coast and the towns of the Teifi valley. Tourism and hill farming are important to the local economy and there are (someone incongrously for such a remote and rural area) two universities, Aberystwyth University and the University of Lampeter. There are a high proportion of Welsh speakers here, particularly outside the two university towns.

Politics: Ceredigion has a long history of Liberal representation, though the main challengers to the Liberals have varied through the years. In the immediate post-war period Labour had a strong prescence here (indeed, it was an area where the Conservatives stood down their candidates to help the Liberals keep Labour out) and it was held by Labour rom 1966 to 1974. The seat was a surprise win for Cynog Dafis in 1992 as a joint Plaid Cymru-Green candidate, winning the seat from fourth place at the previous election. The Liberal Democrats regained the seat in 2005, built up a substantial majority in 2010 and clung on in 2015, though Plaid remain the main challengers here.

Current MP
MARK WILLIAMS (Liberal Democrat) Born 1966, Hertfordshire. Educated at Richard Hale Secondary and University of Wales. Former deputy headteacher. Contested Ceredigion 2000 by-election. First elected as MP for Ceredigion in 2005.
Past Results
Con: 4421 (12%)
Lab: 2210 (6%)
LDem: 19139 (50%)
PC: 10815 (28%)
Oth: 1673 (4%)
MAJ: 8324 (22%)
Con: 4455 (12%)
Lab: 4337 (12%)
LDem: 13130 (37%)
PC: 12911 (36%)
Oth: 1114 (3%)
MAJ: 219 (1%)
Con: 6730 (19%)
Lab: 5338 (15%)
LDem: 9297 (27%)
PC: 13241 (38%)
MAJ: 3944 (11%)
Con: 5983 (15%)
Lab: 9767 (24%)
LDem: 6616 (16%)
PC: 16728 (42%)
Oth: 1092 (3%)
MAJ: 6961 (17%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
HENRIETTA HENSHER (Conservative) Born 1976. Educated at Stowe School and Royal Agricultural College. Cakemaker. Contested Carmarthen East and Dinefwr 2007, 2011.
HUW THOMAS (Labour) Educated at Penweddig Comprehensive. Project manager. Cardiff councillor since 2012.
MARK WILLIAMS (Liberal Democrat) See above.
GETHIN JAMES (UKIP) Ceredigion councillor, originally elected as an Independent.
MIKE PARKER (Plaid) Born 1967, Birmingham. Travel writer and television presenter.
Comments - 394 Responses on “Ceredigion”
  1. While Mark Williams voted against tuition fees, I saw a poster claiming he voted 97% with the Tories,
    Could actually appeal to the significant section of small ‘c’ conservatives that live there though

  2. You think Leanne firebrand Wood would win in Ceredigion?

    Why and how did you come up with that?

  3. Could be interesting to see who gets 3rd place here. Heard that Ukip fancied their chances but i think that Labour will beat them to it.

  4. I would be surprised if Labour didn’t come third. Very difficult to gauge how many of the older/rural voters will go UKIP, but even then a third-place placement would be out of the blue to say the least. But then again the Tories barely have a candidate here so the casual Tories might go that way just because.

    And Paul – after the last few weeks I think Wood would comfortably win any of the six plausible Plaid seats, especially this one (and I think the majority would be even bigger than the Libs in 2010). You really think Mark Williams could beat Leanne Wood in 2015 in a seat like this? That seems very unrealistic to me.

  5. Who would UKIP expect to take votes off here? I imagine Con will go mostly to LD, LD to Labour and Plaid, and Labour / Plaid won’t lose many at all.

  6. There seems to be an assumption that Plaid Cymru are a party of the left here. That is the case in south Wales but there have always been 2 parts of Plaid Cymru. In the north and in rural areas their supporters are basically nationalist rather than socialist. previous party leaders have had problems addressing this in election campaigns. Ceredigion has a little of both.

    With regard to UKIP, I have a feeling that they could well come third in seats like this.

  7. there are no seats “like” Ceredigion. Its voting patterns are more different from any other seat than is the case in any other constituency in mainland Britain, with the only exception being Bradford W, at present.

  8. New Yougov poll, with a seat specific question gives this seat to Plaid, according to Roger Scully.


  9. *With the ratio swing it would turn to Plaid

  10. What has caused Labour’s collapse in Cardigan – given that Elystan Morgan held it from 1966 to 1974?

  11. 1974 is a long long time ago.

  12. It’s not that long!!

  13. Graham,

    Part of Labour’s general decline throughout West / Rural Wales.

    In 1970 they held Anglesey, Brecon & Radnor, Caernarvon, Carmarthen, Merioneth, and this seat. They only hold the first of these now.

  14. Also Elystan was helped into government by votes from Plaid Cymru supporters, this changed when he failed to support calls from people to establish a welsh medium school in Aberystwyth.

  15. @Penyfro

    Uniform swings of one type or another give this seat to Plaid…. Both Plaid and especially the Lib Dems have highly concentrated votes and it is very unlikely that any form of swing based on a Wales-wide poll will correctly predict a Plaid/Lib Dem marginal.

    That does not mean that Plaid will not win of course, but I bet the swing recorded in Ceredigion will be significantly different to the swing (whether UNS or ratio) recorded in the whole of Wales… And it will probably depend mainly on whether the voters prefer the fairly conventional Lib Dem MP or the somewhat maverick PC candidate, and whether the students in Aberystwyth are sufficiently motivated to kick Williams out, and if the vote PC or Green. In other words “local factors”

  16. I agree, just thought that the rare Welsh poll was worth a discussion. I do think it will be close, Plaid’s organization here on the ground is much more robust than the LibDems in this election.

  17. The PC Leader is keeping quiet, so far (during the Royal Baby statements from Con, Lab, LD, UKIP Leaders); but, she admitted to Andrew Neil that’s she’s a socialist Republican.

    That position of course may help her in some areas but not in others. Likewise with Sturgeon.

  18. Stephenpt

    Yes but Labour has managed to recapture Anglesey despite losing there in 1979, and also won the old Carmarthen seat several times during the 1980s and 1990s. Brecon & Radnor is largely explained by boundary changes post 1983 in the southern part of the constituency. Labour also remains competitive in both Pembrokeshire seats which it could realistically hope to win in a good year.For many years Cardigan was basically a Liberal/Labour contest.

  19. Many residents of Wales are unhappy that Prince Charles has the title “Prince of Wales”

  20. Graham,

    The main difference between those seats where Labour still have a foothold in West Wales and the rest, is that the Pembroke seats and Ynys Mon – as I suppose we should call it – have industrial / port enclaves (Pembroke, Milford Haven, Holyhead) which are broadly missing in the others. Having a core of support within a constituency keeps you in the contest, though even in these seats Labours level of support has fallen in the last 40 years,

    The left of centre vote has clearly been annexed by Plaid in Caernarvon / Arfon,, Merioneth / Dwyfor Meirionnydd and probably here.

    Labours loss of ground in rural areas is not restricted to West Wales. Have a look at Labours vote in the county constituencies in Norfolk in the 1960’s. Its now a shadow of its former self.

  21. YouGov Nowcast (which is the nearest thing to a constituency poll we have) has this seat down as “too close to call” but colours it yellow, presumably meaning that the Lib Dems are marginally ahead…

    But I would think the MoE on that will be pretty big!

  22. The intense rivalry between PC and Lib Dems, has to be seen to be believed.

    If it is looking close for the PC team in Ceredigion today or by Monday, then you can assume that PC will be drafting in teams from all over Wales to help their campaign.

    An analogy to the rivalry could be likened to Liverpool FC and Manchester United, but to the power of ten.

  23. Stephenpt,

    Labours loss of ground in rural areas is not restricted to West Wales. Have a look at Labours vote in the county constituencies in Norfolk in the 1960’s. Its now a shadow of its former self.’

    As it happens I grew up in Pembrokeshire and have now lived in Norfolk for over 30 years! Re-the latter Labour’s decline is largely due to massive demographic change and the disappearance of the Agricultural Workers’ Union. In West Wales there has been some population growth but on nothing like the same scale
    On a wider point, I believe that one of the unintended consequences of Devolution in Wales has been to weaken Labour at Westminster elections simply because so many problems can be blamed on a Wales Assembly in which Labour has more or less permanent control.It would be a blessing in disguise in respect of future Westminster elections for Labour to be ousted in next year’s Assembly elections.

  24. Graham,

    I’m not really stalking you! I just chose Norfolk as a good example.

    When it comes to the “unintended consequences of devolution”, …..see Scotland!

  25. You could be right on that last point.

    Perhaps it was a poor move that “The Rainbow Alliance” failed to get off the ground eight years ago in Wales.

    Time will tell.

  26. Stephenpt,
    ‘When it comes to the “unintended consequences of devolution”, …..see Scotland!.
    Absolutely! I always felt that Tam Dalyell would be proved correct re-his slippery slope argument – though it seems to have come about a good deal sooner than even he had in mind.
    Personally I don’t sense any great affection in Wales for the Welsh Assembly. I would be delighted to see the end of it.

  27. Maybe Labour will lose more support in North Wales because of their remoteness from Cardiff, this time.

    You can get to London, Euston by Rail From North Wales quicker than it takes to get to Cardiff.

  28. Right – so that fact that Cardiff is relatively difficult to get to from NE Wales is all Labour’s fault? The Tories have nothing to do with it at all? Pull the other one.

  29. Not only that, But North Wales has not got a Motorway.

    The M56 Motorway terminates just before the Welsh/English Border.

  30. Penyfro

    I followed your link. The Roger Scully poll specifically gives this seat to the Lib Dems if you read the full text.

  31. I should of added. On the seat specific question which is the one that counts in this type of seat.

  32. Posting this here because its probably the most posted in welsh constituency. Just looking at the crossbreaks of todays yougov Wales poll i decided to look at how each party seems to be doing where.

    Mid and West Wales
    LAB -3.8
    CON +1.7
    PLD +1.7
    UKIP +10.2
    LD -12.6

    North Wales
    LAB +4.2
    CON -4.0
    PLD +2.0
    UKIP +10.7
    LD -11.1

    South Wales Central
    LAB -1.4
    CON -0.1
    PLD +9.5
    UKIP +5.1
    LD -14.4

    South Wales East
    LAB +5.3
    CON +0.4
    PLD +1.6
    UKIP +10.6
    LD -12.7

    South Wales West
    LAB -0.8
    CON -2.1
    PLD +1.4
    UKIP +12.0
    LD -13.3

    Obviously all the normal caveats apply, very small crossbreaks of around 250 people won’t be very accurate but I thought it might be interesting to look at.

  33. Yes, on an UNS swing, but on the ratio swing he gives it to Plaid. He’s stated before that the result might be somewhere between using these two methods for prediction (the libdem vote in some seats can’t go -13 which means that some seats will lose more of a libdem vote and some less). I’ve heard talk that the libdems have definitely lost 1/3 of their 2010 vote which could land them at about 37% but a further squeeze is possible.

  34. Graham – Elystan Morgan was defector from Plaid to Labour. He was also a local, admired and intelligent man, and deeply patriotic. He carried many Plaid votes over to his tally on these strengths in my opinion.

    Labour held a respectable 2nd place in the seat -remember Maria Battle’s performance in the 2000 by-election.
    What has happened since is a unremitting campaign from the LibDems to regain the seat, regularly peddling the line that a vote for Labour was is wasted vote in this two-horse constituency.
    They were even saying this when they were coming third!

    I still have no idea what will happen here on Thursday.

  35. Electorate, Ceredigion:

    1st Dec 2013: 56,183
    1st Dec 2014: 49,448

  36. I wonder what’s made it drop so substantially?

    That’s 7,000 lost somewhere.
    LibDems stopped registering students?

  37. Brenig :

    “Labour held a respectable 2nd place in the seat -remember Maria Battle’s performance in the 2000 by-election.”

    If my memory serves me right Maria Battle came 4th in the by-election. The Lib Dems came second.

  38. Baz – just looked it up and you are quite right.

    Mark Williams took second place. Don’t know why I thought Battle came second. Perhaps it’s because that was the last spirited campaign Labour ran in Ceredigion.

  39. I’ve heard that the electorate is back up to roughly 55,000 – but doesn’t change the fact that is much love lost between Mark and the students. From what i’ve been hearing they could come 4th in the student vote, behind Plaid/Lab top and greens third.

  40. It could be worse, in a lot of English universities they are likely to finish behind the Tories too (but not Plaid, to be fair!)

  41. Dai, based on your choice of football analogy I can only assume that you’ve been lucky enough to avoid derby matches at Turf Moor, Kenilworth Road and Ninian Park.

    In terms of LD prospects, I have this seat, Torbay and Watford in my too close to call column. Though for seat prediction purposes I think Watford and Torbay balance one another (and there will doubtless be both LD holds and Tory gains that I currently have in the wrong column, hopefully in equal proportions).

    Going back to the comment about types of PC voter, its not unlike the Scottish Separatists pre-2007, for whom tartan Tory was a reasonable if partisan characterisation of the sort of Westminster seats they held and voters they attracted in those seats. Nonetheless, the SNP have long been left-leaning in terms of policy. Same could also be said for the SDP-Liberal alliance and subsequently Liberal Democrats.

    A political contradiction is not in itself cause for concern for a party, provided that they have a strategy for getting off the fence when the time comes. The Scots resolved that by launching an overtly left-wing independence campaign. They lost a few supporters that way, as can be seen by the Tories relative strength, but in the process gained many more and became a more cohesive outfit. Contrast that to the Lib Dems, the merger of a party of radical socialism with the old Liberals, a party which would probably have described itself in its dying days as one of compassionate competence. By overtly wooing both wings post-1990, a damaging hung parliament scenario was always likely. Though admittedly few could have predicted the scale of the damage.

    TLDR version: over the next five or ten years Plaid will reach an interesting crossroads, and at that point their support will likely lurch sharply up or down.

  42. This is one of the Lib Dem’s safest seats outside Scotland that they might just lose.

  43. Depends on your definition of safe seat. It’s only safe based on the 2010 result. Before that they had a small lead, before that Plaid had this seat. The electoral history (and students, and left-wing opposition) is very reminiscent of Bristol West (despite the obvious rural / urban difference). On the other hand it’s not similar to, say, Yeovil or Bath, which I think are more genuine “safe seats” (not that I’d bet my house on the LDs keeping any seat except Westmorland and Orkney!).

  44. First Lib Dem of the evening. (I called this wrong!)

  45. He could be the next leader!

  46. good news for the LDs here considering the exit poll

  47. Majority 3,067.

    In the circumstances, a positive triumph.

  48. Decent result for Mark Williams.

  49. The only Mid Wales seat that went as I expected. I thought Mark Williams would hang on by a few thousand as he is locally well-known and popular. I thought Roger Williams would just hang on in B & R because of the Ashcroft poll and that Jane Dodds would come close in Montgomeryshire because of the high level of Lib Dem activity..

  50. Full result:

    LDem 13,414 35.9%
    PC 10,347 27.7%
    Con 4,123 11.0%
    UKIP 3,829 10.2%
    Lab 3,615 9.7%
    Green 2,088 5.6%

    Majority 3,067 ; Swing 6.75%

    Mark Williams seems to have been very fortunate. His vote fell heavily but rather than going to his main challenger, seems to have split amongst his other opponents. The majority of his colleagues were not that fortunate. Plaid’s vote surprisingly fell slightly.

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