Carmarthen West and Pembrokeshire South

The second of two seats that covers the old Carmarthen seat. It stretches from the western side of Carmarthen Town in the east right out to the area of Pembrokeshire south and east of the Cleddau estuary. The main towns in the seat are the western portion of Carmarthen itself, Narbeth, Pembroke Dock, Tenby and Saundersfoot.

The mainly rural nature of the seat means that it is one of the few seats in Wales that is a realistic target for the Conservatives, however it does contain pockets of Labour support in places like Pembroke Dock and Tenby, and the sizable number of Welsh speakers in the area also make it an attractive option for Plaid Cymru. Labour held the seat until 2010 under the aegis of its Labour MP, Nick Ainger. Ainger then lost the seat to the Conservative’s Simon Hart who won the seat with a majority of 3,423 votes. Both Plaid Cymru and the Liberal Democrats usually post respectable tallies even if neither party is likely to win the seat at Westminster.

At the Welsh Assembly the seat is more of a three way fight between Plaid Cymru, the Conservatives and Labour. Labour held the seat with very small majorities until 2007 when Christine Gwyther lost it to the Conservatives’ Angela Burns by a majority of just 98 votes. Angela Burns has held the seat since, winning in 2011 by a majority of 1,504 votes. In each case Plaid Cymru have finished in a strong third place, usually no more than 2000 votes behind the winning candidate.  Future elections could see a winner from any of these parties depending on who can motivate their voters most successfully.

The seat has a mixed economic heritage and thus a mixed voting pattern. The Labour support tends to be found in those areas with an industrial past. Thus Labour support can be found in the Pembroke Dock and Milford Haven areas where the industry of the oil refineries can be found along with the communities founded on the mining of the Pembrokeshire coalfield. The anglicised rural and coastal areas such as Saundersfoot tend to be more Conservative in their support, particularly since large numbers of well heeled retirees have moved to the area. Plaid Cymru support tends to be found in the Welsh speaking north eastern areas of the seat. Agriculture and tourism are important employers and sources of revenue in this constituency.

The home of legendary Welsh Poet Dylan Thomas at Laugharne is to be found in this constituency.

2011 Assembly election results

  Party Votes Cast Percentage
Burns, Angela Conservative 10,095 35.85%
Gwyther, Christine Labour   8,591 30.51%
Evans, Nerys Plaid Cymru   8,373 29.74%
Runnett, Selwyn Liberal Democrat   1,097  3.90%

Turnout: 28,156 (48.18%)

Conservative hold 1,504 majority

2010 General election results

  Party Votes Cast Percentage
Hart, Simon Conservative 16,649 41.1
Ainger, Nick Labour 13,226 32.7
Gossage, John Liberal Democrat 4,890 12.1
Dixon, John Plaid Cymru 4,232 10.4
Clarke, Ray UKIP 1,146 2.8
Langen, Henry Independent 364 0.9

Electorate 57,5 19  Turnout: 40,507 (70.42%)

Assembly Member

Angela Burns (Conservative) was elected  in 2007 defeating the  sitting Labour Member, Christine Gwyther. She is her party’s spokesperson on education and sits on the Childre, Young People and Education Committeee. She is also an Assembly Commissioner.

Previously she was Shadow Minister for the Environment and Planning and has also held the positions of Shadow Minister for Finance and Shadow Minister for Transport and Regeneration as well as being the Chair of the National Assembly’s Finance Committee.

Angela Burns lives in west Wales with her husband and two young children.

Member of Parliament

Simon Hart (Conservative) was elected at the last election, defeating the Labour MP Nick Ainger who had represented the constituency since its creation in 1997.

Before entering Parliament he was Chief Executive of the Countryside Alliance from 2003-2010.

Hart grew up in the Cotswolds, attending an Agricultural College in Cirencester. He worked as a Chartered Surveyor in West Wales and served with the TAs. Hart was Master of the South Pembrokeshire Hunt for 10 years from 1988 to the end of the 1997/8 season.

Hart lives in Llanmill  in Pembrokeshire with his wife  and their two children.