Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Wrecsam - a Labour town?

Wrecsam has been a Labour town since Robert Richards won the seat in 1922. Admittedly he promptly lost it in 1929 to the Liberals but won it back in 1935. Fans of political coincidence will enjoy the fact that the Liberal candidate was called Aled Roberts!
  On the surface then, we've had three-quarters of a century as a Labour Parliamentary stronghold, coupled with Labour's grip on the local council until 2005. 

 But a closer look reveals Labour's grasp has been slipping dramatically in recent times. Some of this has been internal Labour dissent and factionalism - Tom Ellis defecting to the SDP in 1981, the deselection of many old Labour councillors in the mid 80s, John Marek's deselection in 2003.
 
 Most notable however is the relentless downward trend of Labour council seats over the past 15 years:

1996 - 32 (out of 52)
2000 - 26
2004 - 19
2008 - 11

Labour emerged from the May elections as a marginalised, shell-shocked force on the council. The party's MP Ian Lucas faces a contest to keep his seat in the next Westminster election with resurgent Plaid taking seats in the Labour heartland.

Most interesting of all, Labour AM Lesley Griffiths faces an uphill struggle to keep her seat in 2011. She was elected last year with just 28.8% of the vote - the lowest percentage of all AMs. Given our unexpected (by everyone but us!) breakthrough in the local elections and the thousands of floating John Marek votes to play for, what price on Wrecsam turning to Plaid in three years?

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