Preseli Pembrokeshire

2015 Result:
Conservative: 16383 (40.4%)
Labour: 11414 (28.1%)
Lib Dem: 780 (1.9%)
Plaid Cymru: 2518 (6.2%)
Green: 1452 (3.6%)
UKIP: 4257 (10.5%)
Independent: 3729 (9.2%)
Others: 23 (0.1%)
MAJORITY: 4969 (12.3%)

Category: Semi-marginal Conservative seat

Geography: Wales, Dyfed. Part of Pembrokeshire council area.

Main population centres: Milford Haven, Haverfordwest, Fishguard, St Davids.

Profile: The constituency is named after the old local government district abolished in 1996. It is the most westerly seat in Wales, at the tip of the Pembrokeshire peninsula, and includes the northern (and more Welsh speaking) part of Pembrokeshire and the more English-speaking and influenced area around Milford Haven and Haverfordwest, the two largest towns in Pembrokeshire. Haverfordwest is the commercial and administrative centre for the area while Milford Haven is a major port and a key point in Britain's energy network with its oil refineries and liquid natural gas terminal. The seat also includes the minute ecclesiastical city of St Davids, by far the smallest city in Britain with a population below 2000. Much of the seat is included within the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, which runs around the rugged cliffs and beaches of the Pembrokeshire.

Politics: Southern Pembrokeshire is very English in its culture and language, long known as "little England beyond Wales", so might be expected to lean Conservative. However, the seat contains only part of southern Pembrokeshire and while the seat has returned Conservative MPs for most of the time since 1970, it is hardly safe, falling to Labour in 1992 rather than the 1997 landslide. At a local level it is largely dominated by independent candidates.


Current MP
STEPHEN CRABB (Conservative) Born 1973, Inverness. Educated at Tasker Milward V.C. School and Bristol University. Former business consultant. First elected as MP for Preseli Pembrokeshire in 2005. Government whip and junior minister at the Welsh office 2012-2014. Secretary of State for Wales since 2014.
Past Results
2010
Con: 16944 (43%)
Lab: 12339 (31%)
LDem: 5759 (15%)
PC: 3654 (9%)
Oth: 906 (2%)
MAJ: 4605 (12%)
2005*
Con: 14106 (37%)
Lab: 13499 (35%)
LDem: 4963 (13%)
PC: 4752 (12%)
Oth: 1267 (3%)
MAJ: 607 (2%)
2001
Con: 12260 (33%)
Lab: 15206 (41%)
LDem: 3882 (11%)
PC: 4658 (13%)
Oth: 771 (2%)
MAJ: 2946 (8%)
1997
Con: 11741 (28%)
Lab: 20477 (48%)
LDem: 5527 (13%)
PC: 2683 (6%)
Oth: 1975 (5%)
MAJ: 8736 (21%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

Demographics
2015 Candidates
STEPHEN CRABB (Conservative) See above.
PAUL MILLER (Labour) Born Neyland. Educated at Sir Thomas Picton School and Southampton University. Pembrokeshire councillor since 2012.
NICK TREGONING (Liberal Democrat) Constituency manager. Swansea councillor 1999-2012. Contested Gower 2005, Preseli Pembrokeshire 2010, Wales European region 2009 election.
HOWARD LILLYMAN (UKIP) Former university technician.
FRANCES BRYANT (Green)
JOHN OSMOND (Plaid) Writer and journalist.
RODNEY MAILE (New Society of Worth)
CHRIS OVERTON (Independent Save Withybush Save Lives) Consultant obstetrician.
Links
Comments - 188 Responses on “Preseli Pembrokeshire”
  1. I have holidayed here a long time ago but didn’t visit all the main towns in the constituency. I get the impression that Haverfordwest is rather volatile & that so is Milford Haven (which I haven’t been to since I was a small child) with Fishguard (and Goodwick joined on to it) more reliably Labour, and St Davids & the villages reliably Tory. Even in the villages though it isn’t uncommon to see surprising amounts of council-built houses (Solva for example) & I suspect that in strong years Labour picks up some surprising votes in some parts of this seat. Perhaps someone could confirm or refute my suggestions.

  2. Fishguard is an empty decrepit ferry port, destroyed by Ryanair, and Milford Haven an oil refining port a mere shadow of what it was. Both major parts of this seat and hardly likely to be naturally good for the Tories. Also many small seaside towns in this seat and such areas are not necessarily the prosperous Tory strongholds they would have been 30 years ago. In conclusion I think I disagree with Jack Sheldon that this would be a solidly Conservative seat were it in England; I think it would be the same as it is here – a marginal with areas of strength for both parties, perhaps somewhere like Hastings might be a fair equivalent.

  3. I don’t know this area at all but if I didn’t know any better I’d have thought there were pockets scattered throughout Preseli Pembrokeshire that could be improving for Labour over time demographically- it’s such a large rural seat there’s bound to be some post-industrial effects in parts that don’t necessarily like the look of the Tories. It’s often described as ‘Little England beyond Wales’ historically is this area of Dyfed, but I don’t by any means believe it’s all one-way traffic towards to the Conservative Party in the long-term here- not anymore.

  4. Pembrokeshire has long shown signs of having an independent streak. Labour narrowly failed to take the seat in 1945 yet managed to win against the prevailing tide in 1950 when Gwilym Lloyd George was defeated by Desmond Donnelly. The latter then held on with relative ease until his break with Labour at the end of the 1960s. Standing as an Independent at the 1970 election he polled nearly 12000 votes and effectively split the Labour vote to enable the Tories to sneak in by 1231. It was universally expected that Labour would regain the seat at the following election , but the new Tory MP – Nicholas Edwards – held on at both 1974 elections and in 1979 obtained a majority of 7500.. Boundary changes in 1983 meant that the county ceased to have a single MP , but the new Pembroke seat was seen throughout the 1980s as being pretty safe for the Tories. It was quite a shock when the Tory Nicholas Bennett lost to Labour’s Nick Ainger in 1992, but following further boundary changes both Pembrokeshire seats were safely Labour in the 1997 lanslide. The Labour majorities fell sharply in 2001 with the Preseli seat going Tory in 2005. Pembrokeshire South & West Carmarthen went Tory in 2010 and still has a majority of over 3000. As this year’s results tend to imply , both constituencies remain very winnable for Labour in a good year.

  5. Am I correct in thinking that the vast rurality/ruralness of both here and CW&SP attributable to the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park goes some way to explaining the area’s independent streak in terms of who it elects as its MPs?

  6. Had a look at Electoral Calculus’s attempt to break the result here down into wards. They seem to think that while the Tories outpolled Labour in a minority of wards in Milford Haven & Haverfordwest, and were only slightly behind Labour in Fishguard, Labour managed to outpoll the Tories in St Davids & Solva. Surely that can’t be right – can it?

  7. Barnaby
    “Surely that can’t be right – can it?”

    Probably not but not the first time theirs been some weird predictions from EC especially regarding the more rural Welsh seats with lots of Independent activity.
    I remember a while back the BC’s proposed “Ynys Mon and Arfon” seat was being discussed and EC had it as notionally Plaid. I found this quite surprising since as far as I could tell it took basically all of the Lab voting areas of the Arfon seat and tacked it onto Anglesey. Yet the ward by ward predictions had Plaid massively ahead in the Cearnarfon wards and Lab and Plaid neck and neck in Bangor and thus to get the actual proper result in Arfon they had Lab miles ahead in some very rural, overwhelmingly Welsh speaking wards, this seemed utterly ridiculous to me and since then I’ve treated their Welsh notionals with suspicion.

  8. Stephen Crabb (who I actually like) has been caught up in yet another sexting scandal. I just cannot believe he has been this silly again. A pity in some ways as he actually appears to be a normal, functioning human being who could be an asset to the Tories. As my mother would say, disappointing.

  9. This story relates to something that happened in 2013, so it’s not accurate to say he’s been at it again.

    Regrettable of course that he’s been caught up in it yet again.

  10. This showing up again has a whiff of someone on the Right settling scores with an MP who, as Tristan says, can pass as human.

    Still, by-election here would certainly be a big problem for the Tories.

  11. Does “silly” still do it justice when the alleged victim is only 19, 21 years his junior at the time? That is, of course, assuming that the message was in some way unwanted (if not, then why has it come out?).

  12. Certainly didn’t work forc Danczuk

  13. Yes – Danczuks was also only 17, of course, and therefore a child (although Lancs Observer got quite upset by me using the term “under age”, which he considers to only ever mean under 16. (It usually is used for that, granted, but certainly isn’t an absolute definition).

  14. I’d say it’s a bigger problem for Stephen Crabb than it would be for most other MPs, as he is very much a “family values” Tory.

    Politcians’ private lives shouldn’t matter but they do. I’d say his indiscretions cost him on the order of a thousand votes at the last election.

  15. POLLTROLL – I think it should be more of a problem for a politician who has made much of his ‘christian values’ and moralised about ‘the family’. But the question is of more than just hypocrisy; we don’t yet know the full details, but sleazy behaviour towards a teenage girl with abuse of a power dynamic (if that is the case) is immoral in itself, regardless of his hypocrisy.

  16. Just to add – demonstrably immoral behaviour is clearly relevant, in whether someone is fit to represent their electorate.

  17. If Polltroll is right, however, it may be that Crabb has already lost the voters who thia might swing. But it won’t matter if he isn’t standing in the by election!

    On whether he comes across as human- I’m not so sure. I know that there aren’t many Tory MPs I warm to, but he always struck me (to steal Ann Widdecombe’s phrase (now there was a genuinely likeable Tory MP)), as having “something of the night about him”.

  18. EcoW – it isn’t I who, “consider under 16 to mean underage” – it’s reality, ie the criminal law.

    Although I realise from the Maidenhead thread that even after I pointed out why what had been said couldn’t be true, the best I got from yourself as a concession was, “I take your point.”

    Of course I wasn’t making a point – merely correcting yourself on fact. You are free to believe whatever you like, but it doesn’t alter the status quo.

  19. LANCS OBS – I really have no idea what you’re talking about in regards to the Maidenhead thread. The conversation I am referring to was on the Rochdale thread. Without wanting to rehash it, my point was that a) Danczuk had (amongst other things) allegedly pestered a child (legally, a 17 year old is a child), and b) there are different legal ages for consent in terms of sexual activity:

    Under 13 – deemed unable to consent, and sex with this age group is rape.
    Under 16 – ability to consent recognised by the law (if deemed competent to do so) but sexual activity is still illegal, and the other party may be prosecuted for sex with a minor (in practice, many other factors are taken into consideration, including competency, parental consent, age difference and power imbalance). (Also- let’s not get bogged down again: one could consent to buy cannabis, but that doesn’t make selling it legal!)
    Under 18 – sexual activity with a person under 18 is illegal if the other party is in a position of trust/responsibility (ie teacher, doctor, police officer etc etc) over the person.

    If you recall, I accepted that the term “underage” was usually applied to 16 for sexual activity (though the same term means under 18 for drinking, under 17 for driving etc etc and isn’t a legal definition). But I went on to say it isn’t just that Danczuk’s indiscretions are with someone who is legally a child, or that he may have been in a position of trust/responsibility (I conceded that it did not sound in any way likely that one could use the existing law to apply to an MP), but that the whole story seems to suggest the abuse of a power dynamic from a powerful man in his forties against a child. Your outrage at this suggestion genuinely made me wonder if you were actually Danczuk himself, what with ‘warning’ me about my use of the term ‘underage’ etc, when I had clearly explained my rationale.

    So what was the Maidenhead comment, Simon?

  20. This stuff about Fallon will come as a blow to Tories who think him a steady hand

  21. MATT WILSON – There must be a gag in “Steady Hand”!

    I actually think the tories will be comfortable with the Fallon thing: what has been described seems to just be a ham-fisted sexual advance (their respective ages at the time were about 50 and 34, so no enormous issue there either), and this has been echoed by Hartley Brewer herself. If the other 35 are similar examples, then this will be an almightly damp squib. It’s likely, however, that that is precisely why this is the example we’ve been given.

  22. ‘This stuff about Fallon will come as a blow to Tories who think him a steady hand’

    I hope it doesn’t – he’s one of the few cabinet minister who remains credible

    Given the alleged victim it does though raise questions about Fallon’s lack of taste – a bit like John Major

  23. Interesting point of view that Fallon has credibility.

  24. TIM JONES – I think that’s unfair…..Edwina Currie was a very attractive woman in her day!

  25. ‘Interesting point of view that Fallon has credibility.’

    Perhaps ‘gravitas’ would have been a more appropriate term – but compared to the likes of Grayling, Leadsome, Fox and Johnson, Fallon has credibility in spades

    ‘Edwina Currie was a very attractive woman in her day!’

    I find that an interesting point of view

  26. EcoW – again, no: simply untrue however you rehash it.

    You have claimed previously that 17, 18 & 19 were underage – untrue.

    There are also not, “different legal ages for consent” as you now claim.

    16 is the age of consent – and it absolutely is “the legal definition” in relation to sex offenders.

    The only exceptions to this are for those deemed without mental capacity – for whom consent can never be implied – and the specific new offence brought in a decade ago largely to protect those in boarding schools and care homes.

  27. LANCS OBSERVER – You are wrong;

    A) I have never described 18 & 19 yo as “underage”. Where did I do this.
    B) 17 yo is underage in certain circumstances BY LAW. Read the post I wrote, which even refers to “competence”, which covers your other point.

    Really, Simon….I know you were upset by the implications for your own case, but stop trying to just blatantly twist the truth!

  28. Re: Fallon and Major’s ‘lack of taste’…neither are exactly good looking men themselves. I’m sure both would have rather been sidling up to Hollywood actresses and supermodels, but that was never going to happen. Both had to settle for what they could get, and many Tory men are comfortable with the hard faced likes of Currie and Hartley- Brewer.

  29. Trump can of course aim far higher as he is vastly more wealthy.

  30. Tristan – to be fair I am regularly amazed by how attractive many Tory MPs’ wives actually are, both objectively and especially relative to their score out of 10.

    Michael Howard’s was in fact a model. Charles Hendry’s was also a wealthy heiress. I even recall Dimbleby being caught saying to I think Kellner, “is that his wife?” when they were panning in to a Count awaiting a declaration to some marginal re another balding overweight male Member with a wife who would clearly not be if he were Joe the window cleaner.

    To be fair to Major, what was his choice at the time in the 1990s: Emma Nicholson, two 70-year-old Dames or Currie?

    Trump was actually good looking when he was slim, so it wasn’t a Bernie Ecclestone-type case of the women back then just going to his parties etc due to him being a billionaire. Even opponents have said his parties were just part of the NYC social circuit. I can’t think of many similar examples to that – although both Michael Winner & Jeffrey Archer’s parties were infamous blatant attempts at courting influence.

  31. EcoW – there’s little point my repeating for your information for what must be the fifth time: underage means under 16 for sexual offences and is enshrined in statute. [Yes, I’m aware of the age at which you can obtain a provisional licence and the three other exceptions (as I mentioned them), though again that’s irrelevant to the assertion you tried to make re Danczuk etc.]

    The only obvious thing to say would be: you do realise something doesn’t cease to be a fact, just because you don’t accept it? Far from being a Green, you’d surely be at home in the SNP or with the Catalans with such fingers-in-ears mentality when faced with mere facts.

  32. I agree about tory wives: Howard is an excellent examlpes. And whilst you’re being sniffy (misogynistic?) about the looks of Hartley Brewer and Currie (who are both at least presentable, and I’d stick my neck out a bit further, actually, even for JHB) it makes me wonder what your previous sexual partners must have looked like. Perhaps you have left a string of broken-hearts who all look like Kelly Brook?

  33. LO –

    You keep telling yourself that, Simon!

  34. Lancs- fair enough, some good examples.

  35. Ecowirral- you really are the most tiresome virtue- signaller on this entire board. The very definition of boring. Shut up and stop embarrassing yourself.

  36. TRISTAN – “Virtue Signalling” – what people call other people out for when they get called out for something.

  37. As stated elsewhere, I never use the term “virtue signalling”, as those who do are invariably guilty of the thing they think they are objecting to.

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