Page last updated at 15:15 GMT, Friday, 7 May 2010 16:15 UK

Mixed views as Alun Cairns wins in Vale of Glamorgan

Leon Shakespeare
Leon Shakespeare voted Labour but said he thought Alun Cairns was 'okay'

It was one of the Tories' key marginal seats and, on his second attempt, Conservative Alun Cairns landed the prize.

He took the Vale of Glamorgan after it had been held since 1997 by Labour's John Smith, who announced earlier this year that he would stand down at the election.

Despite winning with a majority of 4,307, Mr Cairns, who is also an assembly member for the area, brought mixed views from shoppers in Barry.

Jamaica-born retired defence worker Leon Shakespeare, 71, said he voted Labour but thought Mr Cairns, who previously stood as the Tory candidate in the Vale in the 2005 general election, "was okay".

He said: "I met him at an army recruitment event and we had a chat. He's still a nice fella."

Mr Shakespeare said he voted Labour because he "thought they were doing quite doing well".

Ieuan Stokes
Ieuan Stokes said Alun Cairns was the only candidate to knock at his door

Hospital worker Ieuan Stokes, 40, said Mr Cairns was the only candidate to canvass his vote personally.

He said: "He knocked on my door. He seemed a genuine guy. He seemed to know what he wanted. I voted for a change and that change has come."

The Netherlands-born teaching assistant Jenneke Edwards, 50, is married to a Welshman and has lived in Wales for eight years but said she found the British voting system "a bit strange".

She said: "I don't understand how all the other votes don't count when someone wins. I can't get my head around it."

Ms Edwards was not eligible to vote but said if she had been she would have voted Lib Dem "because Nick Clegg is half Dutch".

Jenneke Edwards
Jenneke Edwards said voting was 'a right our grandmothers fought for'

Retired nurse Sylvia Shankland, 65, was not happy at Mr Cairns' election, referring to his decision until last year to claim a second home allowance in Cardiff at the Welsh assembly despite living around a 30-minute drive away in Ewenny, Vale of Glamorgan.

She said: "I think it's disgusting after the expenses scandal.

"I think it's appalling that [MPs] expect the public to pay expenses."

But she welcomed the national result bringing a hung parliament.

"It's an advantage - they'll have to sit round now and talk like grown-up people."

Retired post office manager Earnest Watkins, 64, of Rhoose, Vale of Glamorgan, said he thought Mr Cairns "had a lot to offer".

He said: "It's time for a change anyway. I would like to see electoral reform. We're still working in Victorian times."

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