There were two by-elections in Wales this week Labour gained a seat from Plaid in the Treherbet ward of Rhondda Cynon Taf.
Lab 883 (50.8; +9.7)
Plaid Cymru 855 (49.2; -9.7)
Lab gain from Plaid.
Percentage change is since May 2008.
Whilst Labour held a seat in the Neath North ward of Neath Port Talbot.
Neath Port Talbot UA, Neath North
Thursday 14 October 2010 12:00
Lab 437 (57.2; -5.3)
Neath Port Talbot Independent Party 144 (18.8; -18.6)
Plaid Cymru 132 (17.3; +17.3)
LD Mathew McCarthy 51 (6.7; +6.7)
Percentage change is since May 2008
Both these councils are Labour controlled and there it is often the case that voters use this opportunity to punish the ruling party and so this must be a disappointment for Plaid, though Treherbet has been a marginal council seat being regained by Plaid in the last council elections and local issues may have some influence on the result.
However the the results reflect a growing swing to Labour in council by-elections in the UK and must be a worry for Plaid whom often find themselves vying for the same vote as Labour.
But the big losers so far are the Liberal Democrats who have an effective team in their excellent
Association of Liberal Democrat Councillors when it comes to fighting by elections and in the past have made great headway when it comes to these, but they appear to be losing votes in council by-election and appear to be suffering from the backlash against the government more than the Tories and they seem unable to find candidates to fight by-elections in the same number the usually do. They seem to have only contested 3 of 11 Welsh By-elections since the General Election (ALDC)
It is to early to see whether Plaid will suffer from the new rise in Labour popularity, clearly the election of a new leader as been a boost to the Party and it much to early to predict any long term change. But as we approach the Assembly elections Plaid must reengage withe the electorate in the Valleys in particular or they face a labour resurgence that will reestablish their total dominance of these areas.
The next By-elections include
•Swansea city council: By election on 21 October in Newton ward after the resignation of Liberal Democrat councillor Susan Waller. Term ends 2012. This may give some indication of the popularity of the Ruling group on the council.
•Carmarthenshire county council: By election on 4 November in Cenarth ward after the death of Independent councillor Haydn Jones. Term ends 2012. Again this might give some indication of popularity of the Ruling group on the council though Independents by their very nature do not suffer the same political backlash.
•Ceredigion county council: Vacancy in Ciliau Aeron ward after the disqualification of Plaid Cymru councillor Moelfryn Maskell, who was found by the Adjudication Panel of Wales to have misused his position in relation to planning applications. Term ends 2012. Tricky one for Plaid here for obvious reasons.
•Conwy county borough council: There is a byelection on 18 November in Eglwysbach ward after the resignation of Angharad Booth-Taylor of Plaid Cymru who is moving to Pembrokeshire. Marl ward has a vacancy after the resignation of Conservative councillor Linda Hurr. Both terms end in 2012. Again a tricky one for Plaid and as they lead the ruling group . Similarly could be an opportunity for to punish the Tories.
•Isle of Anglesey council: Byelection on 18 November in Rhosneigr ward after the resignation of 'Original Independent' councillor and former council leader Phil Fowlie, due to ill health (although he has since been disqualified from office). Term ends 2012.
Information from Indiigo Public affairs.