Two Plaid seats in South Wales East region achieved ‘in honour of’ late Steffan Lewis
Emily Gill, local democracy reporter
Plaid Cymru’s two seats on the South Wales East regional list were dedicated to late Senedd Member Steffan Lewis by his successor.
The party won one seat in the region in 2016 and doubled their intake this time. The Conservatives won the other two seats.
Speaking to the Local Democracy Service after the announcement, Plaid Cymru’s Delyth Jewell said she was delighted the party had picked up two seats in the regional ballot.
She said: “This is a really personal result for me because in 2016 I ran alongside Steffan Lewis and we only had the one seat then.
“I feel like this is something that we’ve been able to achieve in his honour.”
Although Mr Lewis was elected as regional MS – then AM – for Plaid in 2016, he died of cancer in January 2019 at the age of 34, and Ms Jewell was appointed to replace him.
Plaid’s second seat went to Peredur Griffiths who said he was “very pleased” to have gained the seat for the party.
Laura Anne Jones was the first candidate on the list for the Conservative Party and she said it was great to have two female candidates elected.
“It’s been a really good campaign,” she said. “It doesn’t surprise me that we’ve not got two people in.
“We’ve got two extra women in our Senedd Conservative group now, which is so important when making policy here in Wales.”
Ms Jones was appointed to the Senedd in June last year following the sudden death of her predecessor Mohammad ‘Oscar’ Asghar.
And Natasha Asghar, Mr Asghar’s daughter, became the second Conservative MS elected in the region.
Ms Asghar said: “I am truly honoured that the residents of South East Wales have deemed me a worthy candidate for this position.”
In the regional election, voters chose from a list of parties to represent them.
The South Wales East region includes the constituencies of Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly, Islwyn, Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney, Monmouth, Newport East, Newport West and Torfaen.
Although Labour won 85,988 votes, the regional vote system takes into account constituencies won by each party within the region. Votes cast for parties which have won constituencies are effectively ‘worth’ less, and, as Labour won seven of the eight constituencies within South Wales East it is almost impossible for the party to win regional seats too.
The turnout for the region was 209,472, which is 42 per cent – 0.2 per cent higher than the 2016 Senedd regional election, which saw a turnout of 41.8 per cent.
In the last Senedd election in 2016, Ukip gained two of the four regional seats with 17.8 per cent of the vote.
However, this time around they were nowhere to be seen, finishing behind Abolish the Welsh Assembly Party, Conservative Party, Green Party, Labour, Liberal Democrats and Plaid Cymru.
The full results breakdown is as follows:
Abolish the Welsh Assembly Party 9,995
Britain’s Communist Party 606
Gwlad – The Welsh Independence Party 1,841
Green Party 9,950
Liberal Democrats 7,045
No More Lockdowns 1,496
Plaid Cymru 30,530
Reform UK 2,756
Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition 362
Ukip Scrap the Assembly/Senedd 4,101