Election 2011: The battle for Cardiff West

April 19, 2011 1 Comment »
Election 2011: The battle for Cardiff West

rhodri morgan

For years its AM has been one of the giants of Welsh politics – but all that is about to change.

Whoever replaces Rhodri Morgan as the AM for Cardiff West has the unenviable task of living up to one of the giants of Welsh politics.

At 70, the former First Minister is bowing out after 12 years in the west of the capital, during which time he has made the seat a Labour stronghold in Cardiff Bay, just as it is in Westminster.

Taking up the mantle for Labour is one of Mr Morgan’s former advisors, Mark Drakeford, a Cardiff University expert in social policy.

But he will meet fierce competition from Cardiff council’s deputy leader, Neil McEvoy of Plaid Cymru, and Conservative Craig Williams, councillor for Pentyrch – both of whom fought for the seat in 2007. Grangetown councillor David Morgan will stand for the Lib Dems.

Labour will be buoyed by the results of a council by-election in Riverside in March, where they captured the seat from Plaid Cymru, which had held it for six years.

But an upset isn’t impossible. The Tories cut Morgan’s majority in half in 2007, and they will be hoping that with Labour’s most famous face out of the picture, the seat is wide open.

The constituency is comprised of hugely varied demographics – from the trendy Pontcanna suburb and leafy St Fagans, to some of the most traditionally working class parts of the capital. It is also one of the most ethnically diverse.

Dilwar Ali, 44, is a local businessman and co-founder of the Nationwide Association for Integrated Development (NAID) a charity that works with disadvantaged communities.

He fears as Government cuts take shape, the ethnic minority community in Cardiff West will be looking to their AM for support more than ever.

“The cuts will hit them hard, as many of them are on benefits,” he said.

“When people first come to this country, that is when they need support groups most,” he said.

“But communities also need continuing support. The Assembly needs to help small businesses as well as those who are looking for work. At NAID we appreciate the help we get from the Assembly but we need it to continue.”

Richard Thomas, 29, is representative of many in Pontcanna. English by birth, he has lived in Cardiff for 10 years and works in the media.

“I can’t see past Labour to be honest,” he said.

“Pontcanna is quite well to-do, but it is quite artsy and liberal. I think the Tories might have the edge in some of the suburbs out of town, but round here I think most votes will be split between Labour and Plaid.”

Additional reporting by Catrin Shi

You can view all the candidates standing for Cardiff West on our Assembly Election 2011 section, and also let us know who you’ve seen out and about campaigning in Cardiff West with the Welsh Watch crowdmap campaign.

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One Comment

  1. Twm April 20, 2011 at 12:49 am - Reply

    "The former First Minister is bowing out after 12 years in the west of the capital."

    Slightly underestimates Rhodri's dominance in Cardiff West, he was also the MP for the constituency from 1987 to 2001.

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