Dwyfor Meirionnydd

2015 Result:
Conservative: 6550 (22.7%)
Labour: 3904 (13.5%)
Lib Dem: 1153 (4%)
Plaid Cymru: 11811 (40.9%)
Green: 981 (3.4%)
UKIP: 3126 (10.8%)
Independent: 1388 (4.8%)
MAJORITY: 5261 (18.2%)

Category: Safe Plaid Cymru seat

Geography: Wales, Gwynedd. Part of the Gwynedd council area.

Main population centres: Blaenau Ffestiniog, Porthmadog, Harlech, Criccieth.

Profile: Some of the most rural and sparsely populated areas of Wales, the seat covers the Llyn penisula, most of the Snowdon national park and the former slate-mining town of Blaenau Ffestiniog. This is a mountainous and isolated area, with tourism and agriculture forming the mainstays of the economy. There are no towns of any significant size. It has the highest proportion of Welsh speakers of any part of Wales, with a majority of the population speaking Welsh.

Politics: This area is the heartland of Plaid Cymru`s support. The area was the first to return a Plaid MP at a general election (their first MP overall was at a 1966 by-election in Carmarthen) and it has been held continuously by them since 1974..


Current MP
LIZ SAVILLE ROBERTS (Plaid Cymru) Born London. Former college lecturer. Gwynedd councillor since 2014. First elected as MP for Dwyfor Meirionnydd in 2015.
Past Results
2010
Con: 6447 (22%)
Lab: 4021 (14%)
LDem: 3538 (12%)
PC: 12814 (44%)
Oth: 2086 (7%)
MAJ: 6367 (22%)
2005*
Con: 3402 (16%)
Lab: 3983 (19%)
LDem: 2192 (11%)
PC: 10597 (51%)
Oth: 466 (2%)
MAJ: 6614 (32%)
2001
Con: 3962 (19%)
Lab: 4775 (23%)
LDem: 1872 (9%)
PC: 10459 (50%)
MAJ: 5684 (27%)
1997
Con: 3922 (16%)
Lab: 5660 (23%)
LDem: 1719 (7%)
PC: 12465 (51%)
Oth: 809 (3%)
MAJ: 6805 (28%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005, name changed from Meirionnydd Nant Conwy

Demographics
2015 Candidates
NEIL FAIRLAMB (Conservative) Educated at Bangor University. Clergyman and former teacher. Contested Ynys Mon 2013 Assembly by-election.
MARY GRIFFITHS CLARKE (Labour) Filmmaker.
STEPHEN CHURCHMAN (Liberal Democrat) Educated at Mayesbrook Comprehensive and North East London Polytechnic. Sub postmaster. Gwynedd councillor. Contested Barking 1992, Caernarfon 2003 Assembly election, Dwyfor Meirionnydd 2010, Ynys Mon 2013 by-election.
CHRISTOPHER GILLIBRAND (UKIP) Educated at Oxford University. Translator.
NEIL FOTHERGILL (Green)
LIZ SAVILLE ROBERTS (Plaid) Born London. College lecturer. Gwynedd councillor since 2014.
LOUISE HUGHES (Independent)
Links
Comments - 29 Responses on “Dwyfor Meirionnydd”
  1. An observation I made recently was that in the old Merioneth and Meirionnydd Nant Conwy seats, Plaid’s Dafydd Elis-Thomas always seemed to get the lower majorities and vote shares than his fellow MP Dafydd Wigley did in Caernarfon. (With the exception of October 1974 I think)

    But in recent years since these two have retired from Westminster Elfyn Llwyd here in Dwyfor Meirionnydd has been getting stronger results than that of Hywel Williams in Caernarfon and now Arfon. Could it all be down to personal popularity?

  2. IIRC the cheapest housing in the UK is to be found in this constituency, specifically in Blaenau Ffestiniog.

  3. @ The Results

    The transfer of the solid Plaid Cymru Lleyn Peninsula made this constituency stronger and the other more marginal (which also gained the Labour stronghold of Bangor.

  4. Ah, right thanks for that Dalek.

    I always did assume that given Caernarfon was once the stronger Plaid seat how strange it is now how roles have reversed in this respect for the party.

  5. ‘IIRC the cheapest housing in the UK is to be found in this constituency, specifically in Blaenau Ffestiniog’

    Doesn’t surprise me

    I remember driving through there about 5-6 years ago thinking I could probably last about two weeks there before calling time on my life

    The rest of the seat is rural – but apart from a few pockets – like Port Merrion – this is much more rugged and raw than the picturesque rural seats you get in South West England and the boarder counties (Shropshire, Herefordshire)

  6. But the phenomenon TheResults describes started before this boundary change – the change did certainly greatly reinforce it. The retirement of Dafydd Elis Thomas in 1992 evinced a different reaction from local voters from that of Dafydd Wigley in 2001. The former had no effect at all, but that of Wigley coincided with that of Ieuan Wyn Jones in Ynys Mon, and some of Plaid’s erstwhile voters felt that they were being presented with a B team, and punished Plaid. Thus as Albert Owen gained Ynys Mon for Labour, there was also quite a big swing in Caernarfon from Plaid to Labour as well. Some of this was reversed in 2005 but then came the boundary change, which as Peter correctly states essentially corralled the strongest mainland Plaid areas together, leaving a seat which remains vulnerable to Labour.

  7. I suppose what really intrigues me with regards to these seats is that while in Caernarfon Wigley was able to build a Plaid stronghold, in Merioneth Elis-Thomas always looked marginal-First with Labour, then the Tories. I’m not sure whether his popularity levels might have played something of a part.

  8. Dafydd Ellis-Thomas’ electoral record in Merioneth and Meirionnydd Nant Conwy-
    1. 1970- 5, 425 (24.34%, +12.92%)
    2. February 1974- 7, 823 (34.61%, +10.27%, 588 (2.60%) majority)
    3. October 1974- 9, 543 (42.49%, +7.88%, 2, 592 (11.54%) majority)
    4. 1979- 9, 275 (40.82%, -1.67%, 3, 910 (17.21%) majority)
    5. 1983- 9, 709 (39.21%, -1.61%, 2, 643 (10.67%) majority)
    6. 1987- 10, 392 (39.97%, +0.76%, 3, 026 (11.64%) majority)

  9. A closer look at the result in Merioneth in February 1974-
    Thomas (Plaid Cymru)- 7, 823 (34.61%, +10.27%)
    Edwards (Labour)- 7, 235 (32.01%, -7.75%)
    Jones (Liberal)- 4, 153 (18.37%, -4.22%)
    Owen (Conservative)- 3, 392 (15.01%, +1.71%)

    Majority- 588 (2.60%)
    Swing- +9.01% From Lab to PC.

  10. A closer look at the result in Merioneth in October 1974-
    Thomas (Plaid Cymru)- 9, 543 (42.49%, +7.88%)
    Edwards (Labour)- 6, 951 (30.95%, -1.06%)
    Jones (Liberal)- 3, 454 (15.38%, -2.99%)
    Owen (Conservative)- 2, 509 (11.17%, -3.84%)

    Majority- 2, 592 (11.54%)
    Swing- +4.47% From Lab to PC.

  11. Prediction for 2015-
    Plaid- 46%
    Labour- 21%
    Conservative- 18%
    Lib Dem- 7%
    UKIP- 6%
    Others- 2%

  12. Far too optimistic from a PC perspective. They will be lucky to stay above 40%, what with a very popular incumbent retiring and the national decline in their fortunes.]

    I would go for PC 39-40 and both Tories and Labour in the 20-23 range.

  13. Cllr Liz Saville Roberts is the new Plaid candidate

  14. I was surprised the MP for Afron did not switch over to this seat, as it is much safer.

  15. Dalek, switching to a seat just because it is safer, without regard to the constituents you currently represent, is unprincipled, opportunistic and selfish- that is why Hywel Williams has not done that, as like all three Plaid Cymru MPs (and unlike many Labour MPs in Wales and elsewhere) he actually cares about the people he represents in Westminster.

  16. Chicken-running is frowned upon by almost everyone in British politics, which is a good thing in my opinion.

  17. Re Dalek’s comments a while ago. There was no great advantage in Elfyn Llwyd swopping seats and were he so minded seats to have done so, the fact may have been perceived as disreputable. This is an area of considerable cross party voting, tactical and otherwise, where personal qualities count for a lot. Plaid Cymru should easily be able to hold both of these seats for the forseeable future.

    Although I’m a Tory myself I would also point out that Dafydd Wigley is and was hugely respected and must have had a big personal vote. Dafydd Ellis Thomas was not so very highly regarded. There were suspicions on and off that he was as much Labour as Plaid Cymru which wouldn’t have gone down so well in a rural area where the Welsh language and culture features so highly as an issue.

  18. England 71777 x 533
    Northern Ireland 66146 x 18
    Scotland 65651 x 59
    Wales 57040 x 40

    Why did Wales not lose any of its 40 constituences in 2005, when Scotland dropped from 72 to 59?

    Scotland had been historically over represented averaging under 54000 before 2005. There was an arguement that this was to cover rural areas but Gordon had an electorate of over 80000 before 1997 while Glasgow Provan had around 36000.

    The English average is 71777 but I would assume some shire constituencies in the South could be much largerw while some urban constituencies in the North could be much smaller.

  19. “Why did Wales not lose any of its 40 constituences in 2005, when Scotland dropped from 72 to 59?”

    Because Cardiff Bay did not have primary legislation powers at the time. It was (and still is) a lot less powerful than Holyrood.

  20. I predict that Plaid will hold this seat.

  21. Should add to the above that the Tories intended to reduce Welsh seats to 30, as primary legislation powers were devolved after the 2011 referendum, but that was lost when the wider boundary changes package was defeated. There would have been 502 seats in England, 52 in Scotland, 30 in Wales and 16 in Northern Ireland (600 total). That would have been much closer to each country’s population share.

  22. The topography of Wales, the population density, the road network and other factors make it perfectly reasonable for some Welsh constituencies to have smaller electorates.

    Do we still have “borough” and “County” constituencies?

    Well we could introduce a third category perhaps called “Remote Rural” constituency.

  23. PS We do not have a Motorway in North Wales nor do we have one in mid Wales. The So-called “Expressway” in North Wales should be renamed Snail Trail, Or Life in the Slow Lane.

  24. PC Hold. 7,000 majority over Labour.

  25. This will be another walkover for Plaid … opposition parties in such safe constituencies field candidates that do not enagage, lack conviction and seem disinterested in doing well .. and this election seems worse than usual in this respect. In the hustings their complete lack of knowledge about the cosntituency is quite stunning … no political engagement … Plaid is the only party that seems to take us serioulsy … oh, and Tim Jones, Blaenau is a great place to live … just stop next time and engage with some ot the people and walk some of the hills before making such ignorant derogatory remarks… and also there is no where in the constituency called Port Merrion!!

  26. Dafydd Elis-Thomas has resigned from Plaid Cymru after representing this area for them at Westminster and Cardiff Bay for over 40 years. Absolutely astonishing as he was a long term Plaid Leader. This would be the equivalent of John Major leaving the Tories or Alex Salmond leaving the SNP.
    He had differences with the party over their lack of co-operation with Labour. I understand that he believed that Plaid should support the minority Labour administration in Wales.
    Perhaps with the success of UKIP and BREXIT in Wales, Plaid were concerned that they could pay a price for supporting Labour. Dafydd Elis-Thomas may be old school and has been branded by some in Plaid as not being a team player.
    He is currently an independent but it remains to be seen whether he will join Labour. His constituency is the strongest Plaid seat in Wales.

  27. Those who follow Welsh politics closely say they are not very surprised by this. He has long had a poor relationship with Leanne Wood (going back to ordering her to leave the Welsh Assembly chamber for calling The Queen ‘Mrs Windsor’ when he was Presiding Officer) and has been semi-detatched for many years. He has said he won’t join Labour but that doesn’t preclude him from taking a ministerial job in return for supporting the govt. as the sole Lib Dem Kirsty Williams has.

    Plaid issued a surprisingly strong statement, considering his status in the party, saying he ‘misled’ constituents in May and calling for a by-election.

    It does mean that Plaid and the Tories now have the same amount of seats.

  28. Perhaps a faultline is emerging between the radical civic nationalism of Leanne Wood and the old-school, localist, Welsh-speaking nature of their core voters – whatever the Welsh equivalent of “Tartan Tories” is.

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