2015 Result:
Conservative: 2116 (6.7%)
Labour: 15976 (50.7%)
Lib Dem: 474 (1.5%)
Plaid Cymru: 8521 (27%)
Green: 453 (1.4%)
UKIP: 3998 (12.7%)
MAJORITY: 7455 (23.6%)

Category: Very safe Labour seat

Geography: Wales, Mid Glamorgan. Part of Rhondda Cynon Taf council area.

Main population centres: Tonypandy, Treherbert, Treorchy, Porth.

Profile: A seat in the south Wales valleys, the Rhondda is coal mining territory. While the deep mines have gone it retains the character of a mining community, along with the economic deprivation that the departure of the mines left behind. Local employment was further hit by the closure of the Burberry factory in 2007.

Politics: Normally a rock solid Labour bastion, Labour is entrenched in the culture of the Rhondda. The constituency and the divisions of it that existed between 1918 and 1974 have all been held by Labour since 1885, normally with majorities of well over 50%. In the Welsh Assembly elections the seat has been more keenly fought - in 1999 Plaid Cmyru won the seat and, while it was regained by Labour in 2003, Labour`s majorities in Welsh Assembly elections are notably lower than the landslide victories they invariably manage at Westminister elections.

Current MP
CHRIS BRYANT (Labour) Born 1962, Cardiff. Educated at Cheltenham College and Oxford University, where he was an officer in the Oxford University Conservative association before joining the Labour party in 1986. Former Church of England priest. Hackney councillor 1993-1998. Contested Wycombe 1997. First elected as MP for Rhondda in 2001. Shadow Leader of the House since 2015.
Past Results
Con: 1993 (6%)
Lab: 17183 (55%)
LDem: 3309 (11%)
PC: 5630 (18%)
Oth: 2957 (10%)
MAJ: 11553 (37%)
Con: 1730 (6%)
Lab: 21198 (68%)
LDem: 3264 (10%)
PC: 4956 (16%)
MAJ: 16242 (52%)
Con: 1557 (5%)
Lab: 23230 (68%)
LDem: 1525 (4%)
PC: 7183 (21%)
Oth: 507 (1%)
MAJ: 16047 (47%)
Con: 1551 (4%)
Lab: 30381 (74%)
LDem: 2307 (6%)
PC: 5450 (13%)
Oth: 1118 (3%)
MAJ: 24931 (61%)

2015 Candidates
LYN HUDSON (Conservative) Cardiff councillor since 2008.
CHRIS BRYANT (Labour) See above.
GEORGE SUMMERS (Liberal Democrat)
RON HUGHES (UKIP) Born 1946, Wrexham. Travel agent and tour operator.
Comments - 77 Responses on “Rhondda”
  1. Rumoured that Leanne Wood might stand here:


    I really don’t get why she would. If she wins, she would have to give up being an AM, which means she would also have to give up the party leadership. But if she does stand… well the seat’s there for the taking, right?

  2. The Plaid Leader has confirmed she won’t be standing:


  3. Probably no hope of a Plaid gain, then.

  4. I would have thought with Wood on the ballot paper it would have decreased PC’s chances. She’s beyond useless.

  5. I think she appears better to those who like Plaid. She did also manage to win the corresponding assembly seat, too.

  6. She did very well to win the seat, chatting to Stephen Doughty in Stoke and a lad who was a coordinator in Wales; they said Wood throw everything at that seat. For a long time I liked her but I thought she was appalling in the debates. Since though on rewatching it wasn’t as bad as my first impression.

  7. She works with a certain type. Interesting conversion to nationalism, too (she was the one who learnt Welsh later on in life, no?)

  8. Yes as is the case for Liz-saville roberts who grew up in England and is now MP for Dwyfor Merioneth. Former MP now assembly Member Adam Price was also an adult welsh learner I believe.

  9. Interesting thing about Leanne Wood’s leadership. She became leader in March 2012. In the Welsh Council elections in May 2012 Plaid lost around 40 seats (prob can’t ‘blame’ her for that). In 2013 Plaid gained 6 seats in Anglesey and held the Anglesey by-election (many would argue largely due to the fantastic Plaid candidate who left the BBC to join Plaid and stand coupled with the dreadful Labour candidate.

    In 2014 their vote fell 3% and they almost lost their MEP
    In 2015 their vote went up 1% but elected the same three seats
    In 2015 their vote went up 2% and they gained one seat – Leanne’s own Rhondda seat. Since then Dafydd Elis Thomas has left the party, and thus loosing Plaid a seat, in direct response to Leanne’s positioning of the party.

    Plaid have fewer elected representatives today than they had in March 2012 and their membership has flat lined too. (Check out the story on WalesOnline if you don’t believe me)

    I would therefor argue that her record as Plaid leader isn’t that great.

    BTW there’s a Welsh poll out this morning so I may be proved wrong – but lets wait and see.

  10. The Welsh poll out at 6pm this evening is reportedly ‘not dull’. It is almost certain to be one of (if not the?) first ever Welsh poll to show a Conservative lead.

    Re Plaid they’ve largely flatlined, as Paul said. A bit disappointing, especially when you consider that in the early 2000s their position was not dissimilar to the SNP’s in Scotland. At this GE I expect that pattern to continue – they could take Ynys Mon, though local factors play such a part in that seat that I wouldn’t rule out Albert Owen holding out against the tide yet again.

  11. Ten point Tory lead

  12. Bloody hell! The more polls like this I see, the more tempting I find the explanations of the Corbynista conspiracy cranks. Maybe these polls really have been faked by the Rothschilds to keep us proles in our private-rented boxes. 😉

  13. Yes, she’s still learning Welsh.

    As for it being admirable (adult learners of Welsh amongst several Plaid politicians), surely it just proves that most adults in Wales don’t speak Welsh, yet they HAVE to learn it to be Plaid politicians.

  14. Well I was a plaid politciana nd didnt feel that i “had” to learn welsh.I learnt some because i wanted to. I beat a fully bi-lingual canaidate in a contested selection. It inevitable in a welsh nationalist party that many people will want to learn welsh…..

  15. Plaid won most council seats here and out polled Labour for the second election running..

  16. I’m surprised this thread didn’t get more comments.

    In the five GEs Chris Bryant has fought this is the first in which he’s increased his vote and/or majority/.

    Apparently this was a ‘target seat’ for Plaid – their vote went down four percent, they’re still in second place one of just two seats along with Blaenau Gwent but they’re 13,700 or 41% behind. Staggering given their success here in 2016 and the local elections earlier this year.

  17. It was a target seat at a time when Labour were on 25% in the polls. A different world.

    More generally, Plaid needs to work out what it is for. Since the creation of the Welsh Assembly it has been largely without purpose except to give the Tories leg-up in Wales by siphoning off Labour votes. (In 5 of their 8 Welsh seats, the Tories’ majority over Labour is less than Plaid’s total.)

  18. They may have once been the left alternative to labour in wales

  19. Plaid’s potentially unsurmountable problem is that it is seen by many who might otherwise by sympathetic as little more than the party of Welsh speakers which Plaid obviously do themselves no favours over considering their endless campaigns regarding the language (dual signage even in areas where nobody speaks Welsh being a particular irritant as far as I’ve heard)

    Throw in the fact that it has to square its social liberalism with the quite Conservative social tendencies of the majority of its potential voters and it just doesn’t have the talented politicians (unlike the SNP) to pull that off.

    With these two factors in mind Plaid doesn’t look to be going anywhere quickly.

  20. Basically they have to do something that makes them different enough from Labour to be worth voting for. Shouting “Wales” isn’t going to be enough.

  21. Surely Plaid are doomed to failure in the short term as only a tiny minority of Welsh people wish for Wales to be an independent country? Other than that, they have nothing of interest to say.

  22. To be fair…whilst Leanne Wood may not be the greatest politician, she is reasonably pleasant and ‘human’…a rarity in British public life, dominated as it is by Illuminati trolls (thanks, David Icke).

  23. I’d guess there are more people in Wales who would want the Assembly abolished and powers returned to Westminster, than would want Wales to be fully independent.

    That doesn’t mean they are without purpose or have nothing to say. I’ve probably noted this before, but the Plaid vote is quite similar to the Lib Dem vote in places like Cornwall. More communitarian than civic nationalist – almost a Blue Labour platform.

  24. “Plaid obviously do themselves no favours over considering their endless campaigns regarding the language (dual signage even in areas where nobody speaks Welsh being a particular irritant as far as I’ve heard)”

    It’s a fair point, but the dual signage in south Wales is certainly not a recent development. I visited Cardiff and Newport a few times as a boy in the mid-1980s and dual signage was omnipresent all over South Wales even then. It must have been imposed or at least agreed to by the Thatcher government and I’ve always scratched my head as to why.

  25. Probably they would have wanted to gain support amongst Welsh speakers in rural constituencies. They had a great deal of success in that in 1979 and 1983 but it has receded since. They also had some Welsh-speaking MPs such as Geraint Morgan (up to 1983) & Wyn Roberts.

  26. Chris Bryant writes in the Telegraph that the Labour Party and politics was his “financial saviour” – as his income tripled upon his election as an MP [having previously been a curate and pensions salesman].

    I usually enjoy reading these ‘Money matters’ interviews in the Money sections of the Sunday Times or the Telegraph, but they are usually former celebrities who are asked about when they were poor and what was their best investment and so on, but this one struck me as a bit of an odd boast for an MP.

    I have pointed out previously that it’s true (unlike the oft-claimed ‘most MPs could earn more outside’), that most MPs pay in fact doubled or trebled upon entering the House. I can only assume he knows most of his constituents don’t read the Telegraph or at 55 he doesn’t see a future for himself in the current Labour Party, so isn’t bothered.

  27. Plaid Cllr Will Haydn Rees Jones has been suspended from the Party after he was charged with sexually assaulting 2 women.

    He is due to stand Trial in a month’s time.

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