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Labour’s Tonia Antoniazzi wins Gower

Labour's Gower candidate, who has retained her seat, Tonia Antoniazzi (Pic: Richard Youle)

TONIA ANTONIAZZI has been re-elected as MP for Gower – a seat she has held for Labour since 2017.

An emotional Ms Antoniazzi polled 20,480 votes – 11,567 more than her nearest rival – in what was a solid showing for her party.

The former secondary school teacher said she looked forward to serving another term of office in her expanded constituency and her first with what looked, at the time of writing, would be the ruling party in Westminster as of Friday July 5.

Ms Antoniazzi, of Pontarddulais, said after the declaration: “I still feel very emotional. It has been a very difficult seven weeks. I love what I do. It’s hard work. It’s dedication. You make a few sacrifices being a member of Parliament.

“I absolutely will deliver for the next five years for the new constituency of Gower. People in the new wards know who I am, and I’m committed to making their lives better. I promise that we will deliver. I absolutely believe it. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be here. Good things happen, and people need to know what things are happening. Please be positive about the future.”

Asked what inspiration she could take from Welsh Labour, which has run Wales since devolution, Ms Antoniazzi said: “There are really, really good things Welsh Labour has done and some that haven’t been delivered in the correct manner – that’s not to say they are bad policies. Working in collaboration with them (Welsh Labour) will benefit everybody. It’s about reform, the future, about people’s lives.”

In second place was Marc Jenkins, for the Conservatives, who was closely followed in third by Reform UK’s Catrin Thomas. Turnout was around 62%.

Earlier in the evening, Mr Jenkins said: “When I’ve spoken to people, 36 more politicians (in the Senedd) has come up time and time again.

I don’t think that’s going to solve education, the NHS, and the things people are concerned about.”

But he added: “After 14 years, some people are unhappy with the Conservatives.” Mr Jenkins is a newcomer to politics and is attending his first General Election count. “Hopefully this is my apprenticeship,” he said.

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Gower Conservative candidate Marc Jenkins (Pic: Richard Youle)

Reform’s Ms Thomas said she was surprised by the “really enthusiastic” response on doorsteps. She said: “The thing that I heard constantly was not that I’m going to vote for you, more often than not they were saying I’m going to vote for you and so is everyone I know.”

She added that voters were positive about Reform, rather than “banging on about how awful the Tories are or how awful Labour is”. On the exit polls predicting 13 seats she said: “I hope we do even better than that. But originally we were forecast to have zero – so dare to dream.”

Gower general election candidates as the results were being read out (Pic: Richard Youle)

Results:

  • Tonia Antoniazzi (Labour) 20,480
  • Franck Ngoie Banza (Lib Dem) 2,593
  • Wayne Erasmus (Independent) 283
  • Chris Evans (Green Party) 2,488
  • Marc Rhys Jenkins (Conservatives) 8,913
  • Kieran Thomas Pritchard (Plaid Cymru) 3,942
  • Catrin Thomas (Reform UK) 8,530
  • Turnout was 62.2%

Who is Tonia Antoniazzi?

A former modern languages teacher in a Llanelli comprehensive school who represented Wales’s women’s rugby team nine times and lives with her son, Jac.

Since becoming MP she has served as shadow ministers for Northern Ireland and part of the shadow whips team. Ms Antoniazzi has said she wants “zero hour” contracts to be banned and a higher living wage brought in. Scaling up home-grown renewable energy is another priority.

At the last General Election in 2019, Ms Antoniazzi polled 20,208 votes in what was then a smaller Gower constituency, which equated to 45.4% of the vote share. Fairly close behind was Francesca O’Brien, of the Conservatives, with 18,371 or 41.3% of the vote. Plaid Cymru, the Liberal Democrats and Brexit Party came third, fourth and fifth respectively. In 2015 the Conservatives took Gower from Labour by just 27 votes.

There are now 32 constituencies in Wales compared to 40 in 2019 following a boundary review.

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