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Caerphilly County Borough

Caerphilly County Borough Council Election Results 2012

Published in News on Friday May 4th, 2012. Last updated at 07:30

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Labour has swept to power in Caerphilly County Borough after thrashing Plaid Cymru in the local election.

After losing control of the local authority in 2008 to a minority Plaid Cymru administration, Labour made the most of a national bounce in popularity and got a healthy majority winning 50 seats against Plaid’s 20. Three seats went to independents.

Labour group leader Harry Andrews said: “This is a truly wonderful feeling. This is a superb result – no-one could have predicted the margin we achieved.

“But it has been achieved, and it has been achieved by the consistent involvement of party members. First of all with the campaign for our MP, succeeded by the campaign for our AM and then since last September, we have canvassed every week.”

Cllr Andrews said one of the reasons for the mauling of Plaid was the decision to refuse planning permission for a new Morrisons supermarket on Blackwood Gate Retail Park.

He added: “It’s fair to say it started rather innocuous but has become a major factor and has contributed, possibly, to the downfall of some councillors.”

One such councillor was Plaid’s council leader Allan Pritchard who lost his council seat of Penmaen after almost 20 years service as a councillor.

Plaid were quick to point to the national swing towards Labour and said voters had elected Labour on national issues and not local issues.

Former Welsh Secretary Ron Davies – another of Plaid’s big hitters to lose their seat – said: “I’m very disappointed. The election was fought and won on the basis of the Labour Party claim that a vote here in Caerphilly County Borough would somehow send a message to David Cameron.

“That is a false claim. We’ll wake up tomorrow and still have David Cameron.

“It was about Westminster politics.”

Mr Davies conceded defeat in the Bedwas, Trethomas and Machen ward early on in the night and stayed at the count until 5.50am waiting for the official result to be called. He could be seen looking on at celebrating Labour activists and by the time the result was called, he had gone.

The former Labour MP’s successor in Parliament, Wayne David, was also early with his prediction that Labour would have a successful night.

At around 11.30pm he confidently declared that it looked encouraging, but judging by the faces of some Labour supporters, even they were taken aback by the scale of Labour’s win.

Just as Labour were early in their predication of a strong showing, so were Plaid in their own predictions they would do badly. Plaid were stunned and hurt at how badly they did.

Plaid’s Deputy deputy group Colin Mann, who retained his Llanbradach seat alongside councillor Rob Gough, said: “The extent of the Labour gains has been a surprise.

“Plaid Cymru has certainly not reaped the reward for running an excellent council over the last few years. I think a lot of people don’t realise who runs the council. The Labour Party has really used its propaganda to vote against Cameron.

“They have conned a lot of the electors and convinced them this was somehow a verdict on the Tory coalition government.”

He added: “We’ll regroup and when you take in the record of this council, we’ll probably regain it next time. This council has never stayed in the same political hands for more than one session and I can see us winning it back.”

  • The community/town council votes will be counted on Friday afternoon starting at 2pm. The Nelson ward, which went to a recount will also be recounted at 2pm.
  • Read our liveblog from the count as it happened.

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    • Mark

      Congratulations James Pritchard.

    • john owen

      Its a pity the Labour Party turned this into a cynical referendum on the Cameron Government, rather than local issues. To quote Laura McAllister in the Guardian the Labour Party (in Wales) motivated voters by saying this is a chance to give Cameron a bloody nose, and deliberately contested the election on that basis. Though not a member of Plaid, I agree with the comments of Colin Mann that Cameron will still be there Monday but Caerphilly has lost an excellent council run by Plaid Cymru over the last few years. . The Labour Party has really used its propaganda to vote against Cameron, hoping that the voters would ignore locl issues and forget the abysmal record of previous Labour controlled Caerphilly Borough Councils (and it must be said rifht wing New Labour Governments). The irony is that Plaid, even before Leanne Wood, was more left wing than the Labour Party, and that the electorate of Caerphilly have been turned, (as in the 1930s), into the Poor Bloody Infantry, the cannon fodder to fight Labour`s Battles in London.

    • Helen

      I hadn't realised that Plaid were a party of the left. I thought they were far too busy counting their pennies from relatives of the dead and polishing their spin, to even contemplate such things.

      It must have been the stealth charges that were of the left. Perhaps the cutting of services perceived to least effect mainstream voters. Could it have been the quite deliberate and outright diabolical mismanagement of housing stock. Maybe their pet projects requiring W.A.G. funding in order for them to carry out basic council services such as the cleaning up and removal of fly-tipping. Fly-tipping which was thankfully spun out of existence.

      Wilful ignorance of the electorate in the Blackwood and surrounding areas. Is that very left leaning, for it cost them dearly. Re-announcing the already re-announced for the hundredth time. How about the defunct master of economics that was Ron Davies, could he have been on the left. He did seem to prefer a structured economy, but then in some areas Plaid preferred a rather more stifled economy.

      Who can tell… Can an average Plaid councillor even tell left from right? Either way if spin be of the left then Plaid, party of the reaper, must have surely been the most leftist of them all.

    • john owen

      Well Helen that shows how little you know about Politics, most objective, London based political commentators have long felt that Plaid is to the left of the Labour Party, but with ex leaders like Tony(who wants to be a millionaire) Blair and, the current leader Ed Miliband, thats not difficult. Of course the recent Guardian proflie of Leanne Wood which described her as being a radical left wing republican, may have gone under your radar. One of the reasons she joined Plaid was the right wing attitude of the Labour Councillors, in the Rhondda, who felt power was their birthright and threatened their employees with the sack, unless they accepted worse conditions of employment, it echoes the treatment of the council workforce by Militant in Liverpool. Perhaps Plaid did lose the support of the voter in Blackwood, but, taking the longer view, the poor standard and quality of life in the Valleys is a result of 100 years of Labour hegemony, and now we face another five years of the same, with the old right wing Labour domination that has failed us in the past, like the Bourbon dynasty in France, having learned nothing and forgotten nothing.

    • Huw

      Poor Helen. Must be living in a time warp. Can she remind us what has happened to the word Socialist in the UK Labour Party? I certainly do not remember seeing the word in "Welsh" Labour`s 2011 manifesto.

    • Cllr James Fussell

      Not long got back to Caerffili after a weekend away in Pembs and just wanted to thank Richard Gurner for covering the event live last Thursday/Friday.
      It was (in Vinney Jones words) emotional. The St Martins Councilors Elsbury, Kent and Fussell are all glad to have been returned with greater majority than in 2008.
      The legacy of Caerffili Plaid administration is there for all to see, "Caerffili a Better Place to Live" a new school for the town and a new library to be completed early 2013 and work in progress for the rest of the town and borough. Lets see how a vote to get Cameron out helps our residents over the next five years?

    • Dave Pilgrim

      Irrespective of perceptions of Labour's campaign strategy for the local elections the fact remains that Plaid have now been mauled in the General, Assembly and local elections.

    • Rob Roffe

      John, a lot of good councillors lost their seats across the UK last Thursday, victims of an anti-coalition backlash rather than anything that they had done wrong personally.

      Welsh Labour’s unashamed call to pass judgement on the coalition was cynical. Yes, it sought to undermine the local nature of these elections. And yes, Welsh Labour‘s higher echelons have limited regard for local decision-making, increasingly centralising through the Welsh Government.

      All that said, you cannot ‘blame’ the Labour Party for a collective decision taken by large sections the electorate to support them last week. In doing so, they actively chose to do so. They listened to that message and chose to heed it. Plaid in Caerphilly must take its share of the blame for not countering Labour’s strategy effectively. Whilst the outcome would still have been a surge in Labour support across the Borough even if Plaid had been more effective, the majority would probably have been smaller.

      We now have the unhealthy situation of a Labour majority of 27 in the Council Chamber. I must confess, the size of the Caerphilly Labour majority surprised me, given Plaid’s reasonable local record, which perhaps underlines the flaws of Plaid’s local strategy. Large majorities have the potential to breed complacency and arrogance, and it makes it much more difficult to hold the council to account. Those of us with an interest in our community, irrespective of our political or apolitical leanings, must redouble our efforts to hold Labour to account. We will watch closely, and make a noise when we need to.

      In light of what I’ve just said, you may find it odd that I ended up voting Labour myself. This was certainly not out of any allegiance to the party – far from it – but on the basis of correspondence that I had with my local candidates on a local issue of importance to me personally.

      With the gift of hindsight, I might have reconsidered, but my personal example perhaps counters perceptions that everyone who voted for Labour did so to bloody the noses of Cameron and Clegg.

    • lindsey

      Plaid lost due to the way they ran the council, with an arrogant attitude, the cemetery issue and Morrison in Islwyn were every ones lips, not Clegg or Cameron, even Allan Pritchard put his defeat down to local issues and his party have tried to blame national politics, same old Plaid spin spin, fail , fail. the people Islwyn say good riddance Pritchard and his cronies

    • Mark

      Lindsay. Its about time you got off your butt & went to some Council meetings, perhaps then you you would see who's voting for what. The Morrisons issue was moved by Labour and the cemetries working party was chaired by a Labour councillor, I know, I was there on both occasions. You talk of arrogance & spin, there is no one worst for that than the Labour Party & yourself. I will be watching them closely, I should have plenty to write about.