Monmouth constituency is the most south eastern seat in Wales, bordering as it does on the English counties of Gloucestershire and Herefordshire to the east, and the broad estuary of the River Severn, Afon Hafren to the south. To the north is Brecon and Radnorshire in Powys. Unsurprisingly Monmouth is one of the most anglicised constituencies in Wales. Few of its residents speak Welsh, and Plaid Cymru are not serious contenders for the seat. The seat was created in 1918 out of the previous seats of Monmouth Boroughs, Northern and Southern Monmouthshire.
The seat covers the overwhelming rural eastern area of the old county of Gwent. The seat stretches from the sparsely populated Black Mountains in the north, to the more populated flatlands bordering the Severn estuary in the south. In the west the seat bumps up against the ex-coaling area of Torfaen, and finishes in the east along the river Wye on the English border. The seat consists of market towns such as Abergavenny, Chepstow, Raglan and Monmouth itself, and numerous small rural villages such Shirenewton and Forest Coal Pit.
Politically the seat is pretty safe for the Conservatives, indeed it is the safest Tory seat in Wales, which given its rural and anglicised nature is not surprising. It has some of the highest levels of prosperity and inclusion in Wales. Labour have held the seat since World War Two, but this has only been at times of peak Labour support nationally, or during times of chronic Tory unpopularity. Labour won the seat during the Labour landslides of 1966 and 1997 and also during a by-election in 1991 during the long Tory decline under John Major. The Tories won it back in the 1992 General Election, and again in the 2005 General Election. At a Welsh National Assembly level the seat has always been held by the Conservatives, firstly by the current MP, David Davies, and since 2007 by Nick Ramsay AM.
The position of the county in terms of national identity can be somewhat ambigious which was due to the “Laws of Wales Act of 1535” which specifically included Monmouthshire as being in the ‘Country or Dominion of Wales’, whereas the “Laws in Wales Act 1542” numbered the Welsh counties as twelve in number, omitting Monmouthshire from the count. Monmouthshire was made directly responsible to the Courts of Westminster rather than falling under the Court of Great Sessions in Wales. To this end there is some argument as to whether the county belongs in England or Wales, indeed the English Democrats party nominated candidates in the South East Wales region during the 2007 Assembly elections on the platform of “Letting Monmouthshire decide”.
The seat contains many of Wales’ most famous attractions and scenic areas, including Raglan Castle, Tintern Abbey, the Three castles of Skenfrith, Grosmont and White Castle and of course the River Wye Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
2015 General election results
|German, Veronica||Liberal Democrat||2,496||5.26|
|Clark, Jonathan||Plaid Cymru||1,875||3.95|
|Morris, Stephen||English Democrat||100||0.21|
Conservative majority 10,982 (23.14%) 0.36% swing Labour to Conservative
Electorate 625,706 Turnout: 47,462 (72.23%)
2011 Assembly election result
|Ellard, Janet||Liberal Democrat||2,937||9.79%|
|Cross, Fiona||Plaid Cymru||2,263||7.54%|
|Uncles, Steve||English Democrat||744||2.48%|
Turnout: 30,001 (46.26%)
|Conservative hold||6,117 majority|
2010 General election results
|Blakebrough, Martin||Liberal Democrat||9,026||13.4|
|Clark, Jonathan||Plaid Cymru||1,273||2.7|
Electorate 62,768 Turnout: 46,519 (74.11%)
Nick Ramsay (Conservative) was elected in May 2007 and was Shadow Minister for Local Government and Public Services until October 2008 when he was appointed Shadow Minister for Finance. He chairs the Enterprise and Business Committee and the Sub Committee on the Smoke-free Premises etc (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2112. He also unsuccessfully stood as leader of the Conservative Assembly Group against Andrew RT Davies.
He previously worked as a researcher for former Welsh Conservative party leader Nick Bourne. Prior to that he worked for former Monmouth AM David Davies.
Born in 1975, Nick is originally from Cwmbran, went to Croesyceiliog Comprehensive School before attending St John’s College at the University of Durham where he gained a Joint Honours degree in English and Philosophy. He later gained a Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Linguistics from Cardiff University.
Member of Parliament
David Thomas Charles Davies (Conservative) was elected in 2005. He was a prominenant opponent of the Welsh assembly who helped to set up the ‘No’ campaign in the 199t referendum he subsequently was selected and won a seat on the Assembly in 1997. He currently chair’s the Welsh Select Committee. He has strident right wing views which have often proved highly controversial.
Davies was born but brought up in Newport. He attended Bassaleg School, Newport. He worked for his family in their shipping company, Burrow Heath Ltd, before he entered politics. As well as being an MP he is also a Special Constable with the British Transport Police.
He is married and has three children.