Bridgend is the most South Westerly seat in the old county of Mid Glamorgan, and its main towns are Bridgend and Porthcawl.
Bridgend is slightly different from the other seats in the immediate area, in that despite its dominance by the Labour party in elections since the 1970’s, the seat has a large and persistent Conservative electorate that makes it presence felt. Indeed in the 1983 Conservative landslide, the seat was won by Conservative candidate Peter Hibbard-Miles with a slim majority of 1,327 votes. Labour’s Win Griffiths won it back in 1987 with a majority of 4,380. Since Labour’s peak majority of 15,248 in 1997, their majority has eroded in every General Election since, with the current MP, Madeleine Moon holding the seat by 2,263 votes over the Tories in 2010. The Liberal Democrats can also post fairly good results in elections in this seat, but never come close to winning it.
At an Assembly level, Labour’s grip is rather firmer. The current AM is the leader of the Welsh Labour Party and the Welsh First Minister, Carwyn Jones. Jones had a solid majority of 6,775 votes in the 2011 Assembly elections. As in the Westminster elections, the runners up are always the Conservatives. The reason for the large and regular Tory votes can probably traced to the fact that the seat contains areas such as Porthcawl which are dependent on tourism, and have higher number of small businesses and the self employed. There are also large numbers of voters in white collar suburbs and coastal areas who may be more likely to vote Conservative.
Bridgend itself never had coal deposits as a result other industries developed in the area including Ironworks and the brickworks at Tondu. The transport of coal did have a big impact on the town, due its proximity to the coal producing valleys to the north, and the coaling ports of Barry and Cardiff to the east. Porthcawl itself was a coal exporting port in its earlier days, but lost its trade to the bigger, more developed port of Barry.
Bridgend has a large number of tourist attractions because of its location on the coast, and which developed in the days when large numbers of miners and their families from the Valleys would holiday in the area. There is still a reliance on this inheritance today, with the caravan park at Trecco Bay and Coney Beach in Porthcawl being big local attractions. The coastal beaches at Dunraven Bay and Merthyr Mawr are also big draws.
During the Second World War a large German POW camp was established at Island Farm. On the 11th March 1945 some 84 German prisoners escaped from the camp. All were recaptured but some had made it as far as Birmingham and Southampton. After the war was over some of the most senior German Generals including Erich Von Manstein and Gerd Von Rundstedt were held there prior to their trials at Nuremburg.
2015 General election results
|Radcliffe, James||Plaid Cymru||2,784||7.06|
|Davies, Anita||Liberal Democrat||1,648||4.18|
|Lloyd, Adam||National Front||66||0.17|
Labour Majority 1,927 (4.88%) 0.51% swing Labour to Conservative
Electorate 59,998 Turnout: 39,453 (65.76%)
2011 ASSEMBLY ELECTION RESULT
|Thomas, Tim||Plaid Cymru||2,076||8.64%|
|Davies, Briony||Liberal Democrat||1,736||7.22%|
Turnout: 24,035 (40.67%)
|Labour hold||6,775 majority|
2010 GENERAL ELECTION RESULTS
|Morgan, Wayne||Liberal Democrat||8,658||22.6|
|Thomas, Nick||Plaid Cymru||2,269||5.9|
Electorate 58,700 Turnout: 38,347 (65.33%)
Carwyn Jones (Labour) is the First Minister he succeeded Rhodri Morgan in December 2009. He was first elected to the Assembly in May 1999 and in 2000 was appointed Deputy Minister for Local Government, Finance and Land. He was appointed as Minister for Rural Affairs on the eve of the Royal Welsh Show in July 2000 and in February 2002 he became Minister for Open Government, which he held until the election of 2003.
After that election, he became Minister for Environment, Planning and the Countryside, a position which he held until May 2007. Following a brief period as Education and Heritage Minister, he has held the position of Counsel General and Leader of the House a position he held until he was elected Labour party leader in Wales and First Minister.
He was born in Swansea, a son of Welsh speaking parents. Lived and raised in Bridgend attending the local comprehensive school and then attending Aberystwyth where he read law. He subsequently became a barrister, training in Gray’s Inn and was in legal practice at Gower Chambers, Swansea and also worked as a professional tutor at Cardiff University. He was elected to the Gorsedd of Bards when the Eisteddfod visited the Vale of Glamorgan in 2012.
Member of Parliament.
Madeleine Moon (Labour) was elected a Member of Parliament for the area in2005. A former Mayor of Porthcawl, an area she represented on Bridgend Council.
She’s a native of the North East of England and qualified as a social worker working in social services for Mid-Glamorgan County Council from 1980-96 then for Swansea Council from 1996-2002.
Madeleine Moon takes an interest in prison reform and policing.