One of the two seats that cover the City of Swansea, and one of three that cover the city and county of Swansea, the other two being Swansea West and Gower. This is the more industrialised and urban area of the city. The main wards in the seat include Llansamlet, Morriston and Bonymaen.
The seat has been a traditionally safe one for the Labour Party since 1922, when it was won from the National Liberals. The current MP is Sian James who won the seat for Labour in the 2010 General Election with a majority of 10,838. Sian James took over from the veteran Labour MP Donald Anderson who stood down in 2005. At a Westminster level none of the other three main Welsh parties mount a serious challenge to Labour, with the scramble for a distant second place being won periodically by all three of them.
At the Welsh Assembly elections it is a similar story. The Labour Party have won the seat constantly since it’s creation in 1999. The seat did provide an interesting political event in 2001 when it became the scene of the first By-Election in the Welsh Assembly when the sitting Labour AM, Val Feld died. Val Lloyd won the ensuing By-Election and remained as the seat’s AM until 2011, when she stood down and was replaced by the current AM, Mike Hedges. Mike Hedges won the seat in 2011 with a majority of 8,281 votes.
Like most of South Wales the fortunes of Swansea were transformed by the industrial revolution. Prior to industrialisation, the port of Swansea exported mainly hides, wool and wine, but soon began to export coal as the mineral was found. Copper smelting became a major industry in the area, and at one point the city became one of the biggest copper producing areas in the world. Other industries producing or processing Zinc, Arsenic and Tin also flourished. According to the 1841 census the city’s population was bigger than Cardiff and second only to Merthyr Tydfil.
The City went into decline during the 20th Century, with a great deal of unwanted toxic land being left as a consequence of de-industrialisation. Some of this land is being cleaned up and re-developed with much of the new Swansea Marina and SA1 development being built on reclaimed dock land.
2011 Assembly election result
|Jones, Dic||Plaid Cymru||2,346||12.41%|
|Samuel, Sam||Liberal Democrat||1,673||8.85%|
Turnout: 18,910 (31.39%)
|Labour hold||8,281 majority|
2010 General election results
|Speht, Robert||Liberal Democrat||5,981||18.3|
|Jones, Dic||Plaid Cymru||2,181||6.7|
Electorate 59,823 Turnout: 32,676 (54.62%)
Mike Hedges (Labour) was elected to the Assembly in May 2011. He serves on three Assembly committees namely the Community, Equality and Local Government; Finance and the Public Accounts committee.
Before his election to the Assembly he had considerable local government experience being a member of Swansea Council since 1989. There he held many posts including council leader.
Originally a research scientist for British Steel but later become a lecturer in Pontypridd, teaching computing.
Mike Hedges is married to Anne and has a daughter Catrin, who attends Ysgol Gyfun Bryntawe. He attended Plasmarl, Parklands and Penlan Schools, then Swansea and Cardiff universities.
His personal interests include sport and the Urdd and National Eisteddfods.
Member of Parliament
Sian James (Labour) was elected MP in 2005 and has announced that she’s standing down at the next general election. This Welsh speaking politician became politicized whilst a young mother involved in running a Miners Support group during the 1984 Miners strike. Thereafter she attended Swansea University as a mature student studing for a degree in Welsh studies. After graduation she worked for many voluntary orsanisations and was Director of Welsh Womens Aid prior to her election to parliament.
She spent most of her childhood in the Swansea Valley, where her parents ran a public house.
In the House of Commons she was PPS to both Gareth Thomas, the then Minister of State for Trade and then to Paul Murphy the Welsh Secretary.