THE BATTLE for the new Westminster seat of Mid and South Pembrokeshire has heated up with the current Preseli Pembrokeshire MP throwing his hat into the ring for the Tories; fellow Pembrokeshire Tory MP Simon Hart taking the blue battle to Carmarthenshire.
As part of constituency changes, which will automatically take effect at the next general election, Pembrokeshire’s current seats of Preseli Pembrokeshire and Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire, currently held by Conservative MPs Stephen Crabb and Simon Hart respectively, are to change.
As part of the constituency changes, parts of north Pembrokeshire – including St Davids – are joining the new Mid and South Pembrokeshire constituency, which will replace the Pembrokeshire parts of the current Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire.
The north of the county will be part of a new Ceredigion Preseli constituency joining parts of north Pembrokeshire – including Crymych and Maenclochog – with Plaid Cymru held Ceredigion.
The new constituencies take effect automatically from the next scheduled General Election, following a Westminster vote to cut the number of Welsh MPs from 40 to 32.
Current Preseli MP Conservative Stephen Crabb has now been selected for the new Mid and South Pembrokeshire seat, an unusual situation where his hoped-for new seat will also see him targeting parts of the county where the current MP is his colleague Simon Hart MP.
Mr Crabb said: “It’s been a huge privilege to represent my home constituency of Preseli Pembrokeshire at Westminster since 2005, and I am thrilled to have been given the opportunity to seek re-election. I have a strong record of action and delivery for residents in Preseli Pembrokeshire and I look forward to continuing this work and building on it in South Pembrokeshire.”
“Pembrokeshire is a fabulous place to live and grow up, and I want it to stay that way. We face some big challenges that require real knowledge, local experience and a ‘Team Pembrokeshire’ approach. That is what motivates me.”
“I will continue to work closely with both our local MSs Paul Davies and Sam Kurtz, and, of course, my good friend Simon Hart who continues to be the MP for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire as well as our fantastic group of Conservative councillors to keep delivering results as we build towards a general election.”
Confirmed candidates for Mid and South Pembrokeshire are now Stephen Crabb and Labour’s Henry Tufnell.
Mr Tufnell said: “I am fully focussed on the forthcoming General Election and the chance to give Pembrokeshire a fresh start.
“Our county is desperately in need of change – the cost-of-living crisis is biting hard and our public services are in dire need of proper funding after years of Tory austerity in Westminster.
“Labour is ready to provide that change with a long term plan that will bring good jobs and economic prosperity to the county.”
The Welsh Liberal Democrats are due to hold a members’ meeting in mid-February to decide on their candidate; Plaid Cymru have been contacted to see when their candidate is due to be selected.
Candidates confirmed to date in the constituency of Ceredigion Preseli are current Ceredigion MP Ben Lake for Plaid Cymru, Liberal Democrat Mark Williams, a former MP for Ceredigion, and Welsh Labour’s Jackie Jones, with no details of a Conservative candidate yet released.
The two current Pembrokeshire seats which are now due to be replaced have been staunchly Conservative since 2005, in the case of Preseli, and 2010 in the case of Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire; both continuously occupied by their current MPs.
However, A recent YouGov MRP model, commissioned by Conservative Britain Alliance, shows the loss of both seats; to Labour in the south and Plaid Cymru in the north, as part of a predicted UK-wide landslide for Labour, echoing the 1997 General Election.
That model, using data from 14,110 respondents, would see Keir Starmer enter Downing Street having secured a 120-seat majority, with Labour winning 385 Commons seats; a 183-seat increase for the party since the last election.
The Conservatives meanwhile would slump to just 169, losing 196 seats compared to 2019.
Based on those figures Labour would win Mid and South Pembrokeshire, with 46 per cent of the votes, the Conservatives gaining 32 per cent, and Reform UK occupying third position at eight per cent, beating the Liberal Democrats and Green party at six per cent each.
Ceredigion Preseli would see Plaid Cymru win 49 per cent of votes, with Labour 21 per cent, and Conservatives third at 16 per cent, the Liberal Democrats securing eight per cent of votes.
The general election position of Simon Hart MP, whose current seat includes a sizeable proportion of the new Mid and South Pembrokeshire seat, was unclear.
Simon Hart MP has confirmed to the Local Democracy Reporting Service he will stand in the new Carmarthen seat.
More to follow…