This sparse rural constituency for years was regarded as one of the safest Liberal Democrat seats in Wales. The Liberals held the seat from 1880 onwards apart from 1979 the year Mrs Thatcher became Prime Minister and 2010 when Glyn Davies defeated the eccentric MP Lembit Opik. The Conservatives also won the seat in the subsequent Assembly elections of 2011.
The seat which borders England is based on the old county of Montgomery which is now part of Powys. It’s principle towns are Newtown, Welshpool, Machynlleth, Llanidloes, Montgomery but it’s a rural and sparsely populated seat.
The seat is mostly mountainous in the west where most of the Welsh speakers dwell but coming down into fertile, rolling farmland towards the English border. Agriculture dominates the local economy with arable farming in the lower area, and sheep farming in the hills.
It has an important place in Welsh history when the Treaty of Montgomery 1267 saw King Henry III acknowledge Llywelyn ap Gruffudd as Prince of Wales. The town of Montgomery didn’t fare to well when Owain Glyndwr was around, he sacked the place.
Newtown was the birthplace of Robert Owen.He had to move to New Lanark to make his name. Owen may have been a socialist and cooperator but his principles never influenced his birthplace the constituency being the only seat in Wales never to return a Labour Member of Parliament.
One of the most contentious issues affecting the constituency has been the development of wind farms. Proposals to build more in the area has spawned a very active protest group which attracts a great deal of support.
My prediction is that the seat will remain with the Conservatives in the 2015 General Election
2015 General election results
|Dodds, Jane||Liberal Democrat||9,879||29.27|
|Griffith, Ann||Plaid Cymru||1,745||5.17|
Conservative majority 5,325 (15.77%) 6.14% swing Liberal Democrat to Conservative
Electorate 48,491 Turnout: 33,757 (69.61%)
2011 Assembly election results
|Williams, Wyn||Liberal Democrat||7,702||33.58%|
|Senior, David||Plaid Cymru||2,596||11.32%|
Turnout: 22,933 (47.11%)
2010 General election results
|Opik, Lembit||Liberal Democrat||12,792||37.8|
|Fychan, Heledd||Plaid Cymru||2,802||8.3|
Electorate 48,730 Turnout: 33,813 (69.39%)
Russell George (Conservative) became an Assembly Member in 2011 winning the seat for the Conservatives from the Liberal Democrats. He was born in Welshpool in 1974 and brought up and attended school in Montgomeryshire. He has a degree in Information and Media Studies from the University of Central England. He owns a retail business in Newtown town centre.
Was elected to Powys County Council in 2008 to represent the Newtown Central ward. He was elected by the County Councils’ Welsh Conservative group to be one of its representatives on the Council’s executive management board (2008 – 2011) in which he held the portfolio for Customer Services and ICT.
He is the Opposition spokesperson on Enviroment and rural affairs. His political interests include transport, the protection of the Welsh environment, local government and community regeneration.
He is an active member of Hope Community Church in Newtown.
Member of Parliament
Glyn Davies (Conservative) was elected a Member of Parliament in 2010. A farmer be background, having spent his early working life running the family farm near Casttell Caereinion. Where he was born. Davies is a keen gardener and became an active Welsh learner and is now fluent. In 2002, Davies underwent major surgery for colon cancer and made a full recovery.
Davies’ career in politics began on Montgomery District Council in 1980 he became its chairman between 1985–89, having previously served as Chair of the Planning Committee and Chair of the Finance Committee.
He was a list Member of the National Assembly from 1999 to 2007 were he chaired the Agricultural Committee and then in the second Assembly the Environment, Planning and Countryside Committee in the Second Assembly.
On becoming MP he became a PPS to Cheryl Gillan Secretary of State for Wales but lost out in the 2012 Cabinet reshuffle.