The most westerly of the bloc of seats in South Wales that cover the old coalfield area and which have a strong Labour presence. Llanelli is located in the far south east of the county of Carmarthenshire about 10 miles to the north west of Swansea. The main towns are Llanelli itself, Burry Port, Kidwelly and Llangennech.
The seat has been held by the Labour party since 1922, and thus could be called a safe one for the Labour Party, however since the 1987 General Election when Labour secured a 20,935 majority its levels of support have declined steadily, with the current MP Nia Griffiths securing a 4,701 majority at the 2010 General Election. Plaid Cymru are the main opposition to Labour in the constituency, and they have advanced significantly over a similar time period. The seat was represented for 35 years between 1970 and 2005 by the veteran Labour MP Denzil Davies.
At the Assembly level the Llanelli seat is the most volatile of the 40 constituency seats in the Assembly. It has changed hands between Labour and Plaid Cymru at every Assembly election since 1999. Plaid won the seat in 1999 with a majority of 688 over Labour; Labour took it at the 2003 election with a majority of just 21. Plaid retook the seat in 2007 with a majority of 3,884, and finally Labour snatched it back from Plaid in 2011 with a majority of just 80 votes. Where it will go at the next Assembly elections is anyone’s guess. The Plaid AM for the 1999-2003 and 2007-2011 sittings was Helen Mary Jones. The two Labour AM’s were Catherine Thomas for the 2003-2007 whilst the current AM is Keith Davies
The seat has a similar history to the rest of industrial South Wales, with coal mining being the initial kick start to industrialisation. Steel and Tinplate manufacturing became a vital economic factor in the seat, with the Trostre Tinplate works being the biggest surviving example. The works employs about 700 people and produces tinplate that is used in the manufacture of drink and food cans and aerosols. A harbour was built at Burry Port in 1832 to ship coal from the Gwendraeth coal to the markets. Llanelli was also an important railway junction for coal, copper and other industrial products being moved from further west and north to the docks and markets of eastern Wales and further afield. Like the rest of South Wales the area was hit hard by deindustrialisation and much effort has been made by various agencies to regenerate the area. The Llanelli Waterside development is a project intended to help this regeneration.
Llanelli has a number of other attractions including the Ffwrnes theatre and the National Wetlands Centre to entertain visitors. The town also has a proud sporting and rugby heritage and many of Wales’ best known sports people hail from the area. They include snooker player Terry Griffiths and rugby players Ieuan Evans, Ray Gravell and Derek Quinell.
2015 General election results
|Williams, Vaughan||Plaid Cymru||8,853||22.95|
|Phillips, Cen||Liberal Democrat||751||1.95|
Labour Majority 7,095 (18.39%) 2.92% swing PC to Labour
Electorate 59,314 Turnout: 38,574 (65.03%)
2011 Assembly election results
|Jones, Mary Helen||Plaid Cymru||10,279||39.43%|
|Philpott, Cheryl||Liberal Democrat||548||2.10%|
Turnout: 26,070 (44.31%)
|Labour gain from Plaid Cymru||80 majority|
2010 General election results
|Davies, Myfanwy||Plaid Cymru||11,215||30|
|Edwards, Myrddin||Liberal Democrat||3,902||10.4|
Electorate 55,637 Turnout: 37,461 (67.33%)
Keith Davies (Labour) was elected in 2011 having defeated Plaid Cymru’s Helen Mary Jones the incumbant. A member of the Enterprise and Business Committee, and Environment and Sustainability Committee. He is the founding chair of the Cross Party Group on the Welsh Language. A colourful politician who had to apologise to the Assembly for a drunken incident in a Cardiff hotel.
Davies was a teacher by profession but rose to be a Director of Education in Carmarthenshire. Davies was born in Gwaun-Cae- Gurwen and educated at Ystalyfera Grammar School before studying Mathematics and Physics at Swansea University.
Member of Parliament
Nia Griffith (Labour) was elected in 2005 taking over from Denzil Davies on his retirement. She currently is deputy to Owen Smith , Shadow Secretary of State for Wales.
Griffith graduated with a first class degree in modern languages at Oxford and then did a teachers training course in Bangor. She then taught in Carmarthen and Gowerton.