And they’re in…
It’s been a busy day in the Selwyn Samuel centre for the Carmarthenshire County Council results, with a remarkable tale of nothing really changing overall but a few dramatic twists here and there.
The final results were Labour 22, Plaid Cymru 36, and Independents at 16. The big picture being that Plaid Cymru are just shy of the outright majority that was being briefed possible earlier in the campaign.
The even bigger question will now be whether Plaid make the decision to go it alone as a minority administration and pick off independents on occasional votes and pork barrel politics, or will they opt to form a coalition with one of the other groups.
I’ve picked a couple of areas that deserve special mention for drama today:
The Amman Valley
Plaid Cymru will be happy performance here.
Plaid’s Deian Harries held on to Ammanford pretty comfortably in the end, despite local controversy over the delay to building the new primary school in Ammanford.
The race seemed tight in Glanamman but they stuck with their incumbent David Jenkins… you’ll have to work out which one for yourselves.
Anthony Jones for Labour in Llandybie, a former Assembly Candidate for the constituency, lost his seat. He held this in 2008 during a bad year for labour and was pipped to the post by a well known local Plaid Candidate. It was all change as the independent incumbent also lost to Plaid.
Saron Labour Councillor Peter Cooper lost his seat and the ward became a two member Plaid. He was replaced by Carl Harris who works for Jonathan Edwards and Adam Price in the local Plaid Cymru office.
More surprising was the loss of Betws, Councillor Ryan Bartlett who had backed the new Welsh language strategy for the county and voted for Llangennech to become a Welsh medium school, was beaten by Plaid Cymru.
Tycroes, Brynaman, and Garnant, stayed on the hands of the incumbent parties with increased majorities.
Labour will be generally happy here, and disappointed by some localised results. Tycroes is the one part of the Llanelli constituency in the Amman Valley and the Labour increased.
In Llangennech, labour gained a seat here from Plaid with Gary Jones winning the seat vacated by Gwyn Hopkins. No doubt the big issue here was the school language category.
Labour’s Bill Thomas gained Felinfoel from independent Huw Richards. Bill is a strong campaigner and a high profile member of the Llanelli rural council.
In town, Llanelli swept Glanymor, Lliedi, Tyisha, and Llwynhendy. Plaid will be very disappointed in their performance across these wards. Notably these wards elected a diverse group of women and ethnic minority candidates under the Labour banner. Anything but pale, male, and stale. Labour’s second seat in Glanymor was won by 1 vote, with John Prosser beating Llanelli Plaid’s constituency campaign manager, Sean Rees.
The loss of Dafen to an independent candidate will be tarnish the Labour victory, and nobody will ever know how th evoke would have split had there been a Plaid Candidate to contest the ward. The anti labour vote seems to have concentrated here and rallied behind the only candidate against Tegwen Devichand.
Labour picked up the seat in Llwynhendy that was held by Teressa Bowen, who was elected as a Labour Councillor in 2012 but defected due to a ‘fall out’ with Tegwen Devichand from Dafen.
Labour lost Kidwelly ward, and their hard working candidate Phil Thompson was beaten by a former mayor of the town.
Across Hendy, Burry Port, Pembrey, Pontyberem, Glyn, and Llangyndeyrn, the colour of the seats remained static.
Notably in Hengoed, Sian Caiach lost her seat in a battle where Plaid Cymru gained one and the Labour incumbent held on. This is a massive seat and the two winning candidates come from the Pwll area of the ward, where the largest chunk of the electorate live.
Labour nicked a seat in Carmarthen town from Plaid Cymru. Well known candidate Ken Lloyd beat the cabinet member for education Gareth Jones to win Labour’s first seat in the town since the Plaid clean sweep in 2008.
There was a recount in Cilycwm where Labour candidate Maria Carrol was ahead by 2 votes until a recount turned it back to the independent candidate who one. Almost the result of the day.
Labour are basically where they were in terms of seat numbers in 2012, but will be disappointed to have lost certain seats. Plaid will be generally happy about their county wide performance, but under the skin they will be gutted that the poor performance in Llanelli has cost them an overall majority.
Now we go into the fun territory of negotiations.