Brecon and Radnorshire

IMG_9608The seat of Brecon and Radnorshire was first created for the 1918 General Election by the merging of the two existing seats of Breconshire and Radnorshire, neither of which were considered to be viable. At the time Breconshire’s electorate was about 20,000 and Radnorshire’s about 6,000.

The seat is the biggest in Wales and covers huge tracts of rural Mid-Wales, covering in total about 3,007 square kilometres or 1,829 square miles. Some of the most beautiful landscapes of Wales can be found in the constituency, including the Elan Valley reservoirs, the Black Mountains above Hay on Wye and the Vale of Neath waterfalls. The seat stretches from the windswept moors above Rhayader in the north, to the fringes of the South Wales coalfield in the south; indeed until 1974 the constituency contained the Breconshire town of Brynmawr, which was moved into the neighbouring county of Gwent during the local government re-organisation of that year.

The constituency is made up almost entirely of small market towns such as Brecon, Builth Wells and Hay-on-Wye, famous of course now as “Booktown”. The biggest settlement in the constituency is the ex-mining town of Ystradgynlais with a population of about 10,250 people,this is where the Labour vote is at its strongest. Brecon’s population is about 8,000.

Politically the seat is currently held at both Westminster and Welsh Assembly level by the Liberal Democrats. However since the 1960’s the three main UK political parties have held the seat. Between 1939 and 1979 the seat was solidly Labour, but the removal of the Labour town of Brynmawr severely weakened Labour’s hold on the seat, and in 1979 they lost it to the Conservatives. Since 1979 the seat has see-sawed between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats, although in recent years the Liberal Democrats have consolidated their grip on the seat. The Liberals won the seat in a spectacular By-election win in 1985 when they won it by a margin of 559 votes over Labour, and beat the Conservatives into third place. The victorious Liberal MP Richard Livesey clung on by just 56 votes in the 1987 General Election, before succumbing to Tory Jonathan Evans in the 1992 General election, losing by a margin of 130 votes.

Richard Livsey regained the seat by a 5000 plus majority in the Conservative wipe out in Wales at the 1997 General election, and on his retirement in 2001, the Liberal Democrats held onto the seat by just 751 votes, the winning Liberal Democratic MP being Roger Williams. Williams has held the seat ever since. Brecon and Radnorshire has now become one of the few seats in Wales, and possibly in the UK that the Liberal Democrats can call “safe”.

The Brecon and Radnorshire seat in the National Assembly of Wales has been held since its creation in 1999 by the Liberal Democratic Assembly Member Kirsty Williams. It is the only first past the post seat the Liberal Democratic Party hold in the Welsh Assembly at the current time (September 2013)

2015 General election results

Party Votes Cast Percentage
Davies, Chris Conservative 16,453 41.06
Williams, Roger Liberal Democrat 11,351 28.33
Dorrance, Matthew Labour 5,904 14.73
Thomas, Darran UKIP 3,338 8.33
Greaves, Freddy Plaid Cymru 1,767 4.41
Carmichael, Chris Green 1,261 3.15

Conservative majority 5,102 (12.73%) 11.19% swing Lib Dem to Conservative

Electorate 54,311  Turnout: 40,074 (73.79%)


Party Votes Cast Percentage
Williams, Kirsty Liberal Democrat 12,201 52.94%
Davies, Chris Conservative  9,444 33.31%
Lloyd, Christopher Labour  4,797 16.92%
Price, Gary Plaid Cymru 1,906  6.72%

Turnout: 28,348 (52.94%)

Liberal Democrat hold 2,757 majority

2010 General election results

Party Votes Cast Percentage
Williams, Roger Liberal Democrat 17,929 46.2
Davies, Suzy Conservative 14,182 36.5
Lloyd, Christopher Labour 4,096 10.5
Davies, Janet Plaid Cymru 989 2.5
Easton, Clive UKIP 876 2.3
Robinson, Dorienne Green 341 0.9
Green, Jeffrey Christian Party 222 0.6
Lord Offa Loony 210 0.5

Electorate 53,589  Turnout: 38,845 (72.49%)

Assembly Member 

Kirsty Williams (Liberal Democrat) was first elected to the Assembly in May 1999. She became the leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats in December 2008 and is the first female leader of any of the four main Welsh political parties. She has chaired the Health and Social Services, Standards of Conduct and Sustainability Committees. She is currently on the Health and Social Care Committee and the Standards of Conduct Committee.

Kirsty was born in Taunton to Welsh parents and from the age of three, grew up in Bynea in Camarthenshire. Kirsty lives on the family farm just outside Brecon with her husband and three young daughters. She was educated at the village primary school in Carmarthenshire and then at St Michael’s School in Llanelli. Kirsty went on to study at Manchester University and the University of Missouri, before working at Carmarthenshire College and for a small business in Cardiff as a Marketing Executive.

 Member of Parliament

Roger Williams (Liberal Democrat) was elected to Parliament in the 2001 General election. He first became active in politics by joining the Labour party in 1969 but left in 1981 to join the SDP and represented it and then the Liberal Democrats on Powys County Council. He was elected Chairman of Brecon beacons National Park in 1990.  He was the Liberal Democrats Welsh spokesperson from 2005-10. He became a CBE in 2013 New Year’s Honours.

Born In Crickhowell  studies at Christ College, Brecon and studied Natural Sciences, at Selwyn College Cambridge. He came back to Brecon to become a livestock farmer and was Chair of Brecon and Radnorshire branch of the National Farmers Union in the mid eighties. He is married with two children.