Big three battle to win Arfon seat at the general election
WITH less than a week to go before the expected announcement of the general election date, the campaign in Arfon got off to a flying start.
Plaid Cymru, Labour and the Conservative Party all launched their campaigns for the newly created Arfon seat.
The seat, which has undergone boundary changes, is being fought in a general election for the first time.
At the last election, Plaid Cymru MP Hywel Williams won the old Caernarfon seat ahead of Labour in 2005 with 45% of the vote.
All three major parties believe that boundary changes have now made this seat a “marginal” as the Plaid heartlands of Pen Lln now fall into the neighbouring Dwyfor Meirionnydd seat, with the traditional Labour voting Bangor incorporated into the new seat. A resurgent Tory party will also be hoping to capitalise on its strong showing nationally.
Plaid launched their campaign at the Bangor rugby club on Friday night, while earlier that day the Tories kicked off theirs at Ty Cegin, Maesgeirchen, one of the city’s most deprived housing estates.
First Minister Carwyn Jones came up to Caernarfon on Saturday morning to support Alan Pugh’s bid to re-enter full-time politics.
Speaking at the Plaid launch, Mr Williams struck a determined note: “Although this is a new constituency in Westminster terms, it is already represented in the National Assembly by Heritage Minister Alun Ffred Jones, the Plaid Cymru AM. Together we would represent the best interests of the people of Arfon in Westminster and Cardiff.”
Mr Pugh, 54, a former Snowdonia Society chief executive previously represented Clwyd West in the National Assembly from 1999 to 2007 and served for four years as culture and Welsh language minister in Rhodri Morgan’s cabinet.
He said: “This will be the most important election for a generation and there is a huge amount at stake for anyone who depends on or works in vital public services.”
The Conservative candidate Robin Millar launched his campaign with the slogan Adeiladu Arfon (Building Arfon).
The former Ysgol Cae Top and Friars pupil has been working for Iain Duncan Smith’s Centre for Social Justice, tackling youth unemployment.
At the launch he said: “That’s why we chose Ty Cegin. This estate (Maesgeirchen) is a place with fantastic potential but real problems which need to be addressed.
“It can be changed, but one life at a time, one job at a time, one small
business at a time.”
Llanberis sheep farmer and former RAF man Elwyn Williams will fight the seat for UKIP and Sarah Green, originally from Bala, is the Liberal Democrats’ representative.