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. Does he have the biggest majority of any LD MP now?

  2. Tim Farron still has a majority of 8,949.

  3. So Plaid who were the main challengers saw a fall in votes and % vote share. So much for their local campaigning abilities/candidate.

  4. Leanne Wood, banging on about anti-austerity has done for her. Wales as a Nation is not just about the Valleys anymore. They need to elect a more credible leader, with more cross country experience….how about a North East Wales Business Person, who can also speak Welsh – ?

  5. Neil – While I fully agree that Wood is a busted flush, it was the vote collapse in Llanelli that actually showed the failure of Plaid. She must go as she has failed. UKIP beating Plaid is a further wound.

    Ceredigion however is a unique constituency, constantly bucking national trends, where incumbency and Mark Williams’ relentless cycle of visiting coffee mornings and jumble sale seemingly counts for more than anything else.

  6. Is the General the main target for Plaid. I suspect the welsh Assembly next year is the main election and where Leanne Wood will find her fate.

  7. The Plaid vote share has gone down here in every election since 1997.

  8. It will be interesting to see how boundary changes affect this seat, assuming the Tories will likely go ahead with this area of their policy (scuppered by LibDems in the last parliament).

    The arrangements set forth by the Boundary Commission recommended restoring the 1992 boundaries joining Ceredigion with a portion of north Pembrokeshire.

    The Plaid vote in Preseli Pembrokeshire was 2,518 on Thursday, and has been as high as 4,752.

  9. Mark Williams is the only one of the LibDems eight MPs to be left out of a “cabinet” named by new leader Tim Farron. Shows how much they value his input as their only Welsh MP. Ceredigion are lucky to be represented by a man of such calibre..

  10. Pretty quick rehabilitation for Carmichael then.

  11. Mark Williams performed creditably here, but I do think the failure of Plaid Cymru to realistically compete for the seat and mount an effective challenge probably helped him quite a bit having been some way back last time, given they were the only clear challengers, having been in second place by miles owing to them having lost the seat back to the Lib Dems in 2005- I don’t know how big a personal vote Cynog Dafis had as the MP from 1992-2000, but if it was considerable it might explain why Plaid have struggled in the elections following his departure. Despite the disappointing result for them this time, I don’t think Plaid Cymru should by any means give up on winning this back one day, but I reckon they may have to wait until Williams retires, with the resultant loss of incumbency that will no doubt ensue.

  12. I think there are plenty of reasons why Plaid failed to regain this seat. Wrong candidate, didn’t live in Ceredigion and wasn’t identifiable to the constituents. The swing to the ‘safe’ hands, the right very late in the game (Plaid thought it would be much closer) which in this seat would be the LibDems. Mark Williams’ personal following and the good showing of the Greens, Labour and Ukip which probably stunted Plaid’s momentum. All in all Plaid could win this with the right candidate, i’m sure Elin will hold on quite comfortably next year. (Although the small decreasing trend in Plaid’s vote would be down to demographics i’d imagine, and could indeed keep them from winning this westminster seat).

  13. But the LibDems obvious disregard of his input cements my view of him and what he should be, a county councillor.

  14. Too much is being made of Mark Williams not being in the LibDem ‘cabinet’. In any event, it’s reported that he’s going to be involved with a Campaigns Team within their group.

  15. Are they called the Lib Dem Cabinet because that’s where their meetings are held?

  16. HA HA

  17. too much? I think the fact that all other 7MPs have a position within the ‘cabinet’ along with councillors, an AM + MSP but can’t find a place for him speaks volumes. I guess this will just give him more time to attend coffee mornings.

  18. Lorely Burt is the business spokesperson apparently. Pity she isn’t in Parliament…

  19. Tim Farron when asked about Williams’ absence from the list on his Facebook page said to look out for an announcement later in the summer which will explain his absence. Presumably there’s a new position lined up but we’ll just have to wait and see.

    And Penyfro, you might have noticed that Nick Clegg isn’t in there either so not only are you incorrect in your statement saying all the other MPs are in there but your snide comments about Mark Williams would seem to be way off the mark as he survived when his colleagues elsewhere were dropping like ninepins. Obviously the people of Ceredigion believe that Williams is exactly where he should be, in Parliament!

  20. Nick Clegg refused a position! Mark Williams was just left out. And he clearly survived as there wasn’t a viable and clear alternative!

  21. Penyfro – I know you and your Plaid friends are still bitter about MW winning the seat in 2005 and remaining there ever since, but you really need to get over it and stop attacking him!

  22. You’d think that with so few of them that they’d all have a spokesman job and remit in the Parliamentary Party shadow cabinet.

  23. Paul D has a point although how far it would help the LibDems for Clegg to take an active portfolio is open to doubt.

    Mark Williams appears to be building up an individual following as a local MP, which has been the case for a considerable number of MPs in Central and West Wales over the years.

    I presume, incidentally, that Williams has learned Welsh if he didn’t know it before he became an MP, although in my experience the Welsh are not as hung-up about this as outsiders might think providing the individual concerned is conscientious and locally minded.

  24. P.S. is the Green/Plaid pact here totally dead?

  25. It’s dead, not just in Ceredigion though.

  26. Penyfro – all 7?

    I thought only 4 MPs are in their Shadow Cabinet. Most were in the Lords on the list I saw.

  27. http://www.libdems.org.uk/new-lib-dem-spokespeople-announced This is a list of their spokepersons.

    @Paul – i’m not bitter, Plaid didn’t deserve to win the seat, but that doesn’t mean that Mark Williams did! They LDs did run the campaign as if Mark were independent of any party, which could hurt them when he steps down. And no Frederic, Mark Williams does not speak Welsh.

  28. Without commenting on Mark Williams, there are quite a few MPs who did not deserve to win but are still sitting on the green benches at Westminster.

  29. Plaid must be a little nervous about their assembly seat. It swung to the Lib Dems in 2011 (possibly the only seat in either Scotland or Wales that did so?) and they failed to take a seat, which, given the national results, they should have at least been close to.

    I saw a lot of ramping from Plaid members (not necessarily on here) that Ceredigion and Ynys Mon were ‘in the bag’, but the GE was really an abject failure for that party, especially given the extra exposure they gained.

  30. Mark Williams still has not got a Shadow Spokesman post, even if only as Spokesman for Paper Clips. Is there something serious wrong with him e.g.in relation to his health?

    By the way, as he has been MP for ten years one might have thought that he would have found the time to do an intensive course in Welsh. There are firms like Berlitz who do good busuness in selling such courses. Perhaps it is all those Spokesman duties that stop him?!.

  31. @Frederic

    He’s a very low key MP – perhaps not in Ceredigion, where he must have done something to get the result he did, but certainly in parliament. Perhaps he likes it that way.

  32. Fairly interesting article on this constituency, and its pro-European leanings (according to YouGov Profiles) – http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/aberystwyth-welcome-to-the-most-europhile-place-in-britain-a6913001.html

  33. Prediction – Plaid to hold by 1000 votes tonight

  34. Prediction for 2020-
    Williams (Lib Dem)- 40%
    Plaid Cymru- 29%
    Conservative- 13%
    Labour- 7%
    UKIP- 7%
    Green- 4%

  35. The Results- although it is nice to see you back I am a bit baffled why you are engaging in detailed predictions when (i) we are not even 18 months into this Parliament and (ii) as I’ve said before, we can expect reasonably extensive boundary changes, and particularly in Wales.

  36. Lorrae Jones-Southgate Councillor for Penparcau on the edge of Aberystwyth has been deselected by Plaid Cymru and is no sitting as an independent.

  37. Ben Lake for Plaid Cymru last night, selected over Owain Davies.

    Ben is local from Lampeter and is a 24 year old Cambridge Graduate.

    In other news a Plaid Town Councillor in Cardigan has quit accusing Plaid of wrongly pursuing “socialist and communist policies”


  38. Paul

    Plaid Cymru have always been 2 parties – basically Conservative-light in the rural west and north, Labour-light in in the larger towns and SE valleys. The independence issue is what has held them together but many are now happy with the National Assembly.

  39. Ironically the results prediction further on up the page is probably going to be pretty accurate

  40. strong plaid performance in council elections and no lib dem advance. Will the tactical voting tories that keep williams elected revert to their first choice…?

  41. Plaid’s decent performance in the local elections didn’t extend to taking overall control in Ceridigion, though they remain the largest party. New young candidate in place, probably less of a liability than 2015, but not aware how well he’s known. Would think Mark Williams to hold on here.

  42. There was no Plaid advance, either. And actually the LDs made one gain (7 to 8), while Plaid lost 3% of their vote (the LDs lost 1%).

    How that’s a “strong performance” or indicates Plaid growth I don’t know.

    There’s a huge independent presence on the council that also disrupts our ability to predict this, but Williams should hold.

  43. With no great local knowledge, so I can easily be corrected — a part of me feels the time for Mark Williams to be unseated was 2015 and if it didn’t happen then it won’t happen in 2017.

  44. It’s highly doubtful now. There’s no truth to LexBoz’s analysis of the council results.

  45. I thought he was saying something similar to you in his analysis — that the performance was far from spectacular?

  46. Thanks DW, that’s what I thought too!

  47. I agree with Mr Pitt. The plaid performance here was like a mountain of diarrhoea.

  48. Perhaps I misread; I understood LexBoz to be more enthusiastic on my first reading. Apologies!

    I don’t see Plaid coming close; I’d expect a mildly increased majority for Williams with little change in Plaid’s vote, so probably around 44 for Williams, 28 for Plaid.

  49. MR PITT, no problem. Think we’re of a similar view on the likely outcome here.

  50. Agreed. If I had to guess:

    Williams 44
    Plaid 27
    Con 20
    Lab 6
    UKIP 3

Leave a Reply

NB: Before commenting please make sure you are familiar with the Comments Policy. UKPollingReport is a site for non-partisan discussion of polls.

You are not currently logged into UKPollingReport. Registration is not compulsory, but is strongly encouraged. Either login here, or register here (commenters who have previously registered on the Constituency Guide section of the site *should* be able to use their existing login)