Page last updated at 10:43 GMT, Friday, 7 May 2010 11:43 UK

Lembit Opik's loss in Montgomery spoils Lib Dem night

Glyn Davies and Lembit Opik (right)
Lembit Opik congratulates Glyn Davies on his victory in Mongomeryshire

It was an historic night for the Conservatives in Montgomeryshire after they won the seat for only the second time in 130 years.

A swing of more than 13% swept 66-year-old Glyn Davies into Westminster at the expense of Lembit Opik, who had been the MP since 1997.

In Ceredigion, Lib Dem Mark Williams was re-elected with a vastly increased majority and 50% of the vote.

Meanwhile, Lib Dem Roger Williams was re-elected in Brecon and Radnorshire.

The Conservatives last won the rural seat of Montgomeryshire, in north Powys, back in 1979, breaking a 99-year reign by the Liberals. Alex Carlile regained the seat for the party in 1983.

Its leader Nick Clegg admitted it had been a disappointing night for the Liberal Democrats nationally, but one of his MPs in Wales was celebrating a famous victory.

In the marginal seat of Ceredigion, Mark Williams was re-elected with a majority of more than 8,000, compared to just 219 in 2005.

The swing from Plaid Cymru of more than 10% was a small consolation for a party whose hopes were dashed nationally.

Nigel Hopkins
Voter Nigel Hopkins said Mr Williams's election was fantastic news

Carpenter Dai Morgan, of Borth, near Aberystwyth said: "He (Mark Williams) seems to be the right man, and says the right things about things affecting us like the recession and fuel prices."

Builder Michael Howells, 57, also from Borth, voted for Plaid Cymru.

"I think the national television debates affected the smaller parties such as Plaid."

Nigel Hopkins, 59, from Aberystwyth, said his family had supported the Liberal Democrats and the former Liberal Party since its inception.

He said: "It's fantastic news. Mark Williams is a nice guy and a good MP.

Michael Howells
Michael Howells said the national debates had an adverse effect

"I'm over the moon. To go from a majority of about 215 to more than 8,000 is amazing.

"The student vote and the national appeal played a huge part in the election here."

Carpenter Mr Morgan, 66, added that he was pleased the election was over, but thought the best man had won.

He added: "I think he's a better bloke than the other one (Penri James, Plaid Cymru)."

Mr Williams said hard work on the ground had secured him victory, and with that came one of the largest majorities for a party in the constituency for generations.

But success has not come over night for Mr Williams. He fought and lost a by-election in 2000 and a general election in 2001, before winning the rural seat by just 219 votes in 2005.

Lib Dem posters in Ceredigion
Mark Williams was surprised by his majority in Ceredigion

Following a long and exciting election night, a weary Mr Williams reflected on his success and the prospect of another term representing the people of Ceredigion.

He confessed he was surprised about the size of his majority.

He added: "I was cautiously optimistic when I arrived at the count and my agent said I'd have a 4,000 majority, but I never imagined it would be more than 8,000.

"It's a huge privilege and an honour for me to serve Ceredigion and this result shows that people have confidence in me and the party."

Mr Williams said the national Liberal Democrat campaign had played a part in his success.

He added: "I'd like to think it's a reflection of five years of hard work. Secondly, despite what people said about 'Cleggmania', I think it did have a positive effect and I detected a change on the streets following the national debates.

"I think it was an effective national campaign and hard work on the ground. Plaid Cymru did not get the seats they had hoped for and there was an issue about their relevance in Westminster.

"The main issues here focussed on the funding of local services, concerns about the county council's reorganisation of schools and continuing concerns about the health service, low wages and the economy."



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