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Friday, 4 January, 2002, 21:22 GMT
Plaid selects by-election candidate
Plaid Cymru have become the first of the four main parties to announce their prospective parliamentary candidate for the Ogmore by-election in south Wales.

Bleddyn Hancock, the Welsh secretary of the miners' union Nacods, beat two other contenders for the Plaid nomination.

Bleddyn Hancock
Plaid's Bleddyn Hancock: Selected

"It is time for Ogmore's voice in London, not London's voice in Ogmore." said Mr Hancock on his selection.

The by-election - only the second of this parliament - was forced by the death last month of the sitting member Sir Ray Powell.

Mr Hancock contested Pontypridd for Plaid Cymru at the 2001 general election.

Nominations to be Labour's candidate also closed on Friday with forty applicants coming forward.

The names of the Labour hopefuls will be announced on Monday, before local party members chose their candidate in a secret ballot next Wednesday.

As the closing date passed at Labour HQ in Cardiff on Friday morning, Bridgend County Borough Council leader Jeff Jones launched a savage attack on Cardiff Lord Mayor Russell Goodway.

Mr Jones, who represents an Ogmore ward but is not standing, claimed "fixers" in Labour's "Powell faction" would help Mr Goodway win the seat to further his own political ambitions.

Cardiff Lord Mayor Russell Goodway
Russell Goodway: A contender

"I think he wants to use the people of Ogmore to become not the MP, but the future Secretary of State for Wales," Mr Jones said.

The council leader, a fierce adversary of Mr Goodway, is backing former Neil Kinnock aide Jan Royall in her election bid.

Candidates running

The Labour party has refused to disclose the make-up shortlist of the candidates until 2200 GMT Monday.

  • According to reports, Maria Battle - who fought Wales' last Parliamentary by-election - in Ceredigion, in February 2000, was also considering applying.

  • Neath Labour Party vice president Huw Irranca-Davies, who contested Brecon and Radnorshire in the 2001 general election, faxed his application on Thursday.

  • Mark Seddon, the editor of Labour's Tribune, has also applied; he claims the support ofthe Labour old guard in the shape of Michael Foot, Barbara Castle and the former leader of Unison, Rodney Bickerstaffe.

  • Maesteg-born politics lecturer Peter Laugharne handed in his application on Friday.

Cardiff's Lord Mayor Russell Goodway, who has made little secret of his wider political ambitions, is also strongly believed to be among the Labour contenders.

Tribune writer Mark Seddon
Journalist Mark Seddon: Seeking nomination
The final selection will be carried out at a meeting in the constituency on Wednesday evening by the one member, one vote method.

Conservatives in Ogmore will also select their candidate for the seat on Wednesday, at a hustings meeting in the village hall in Pencoed.

The Liberal Democrats say they hope to have selected a candidate by the end of next week.

No date has yet been set for the by-election, but there has been speculation the vote will take place on 7 February.

Sir Ray Powell died on 7 December home after a suspected asthma attack after holding the seat for 22 years.

At the general election, he held his Ogmore seat with a majority of more than 14,000.

BBC Wales's Guto Thomas
"The shortlist will be drawn up on Monday before members make the final selection on Wednesday."
Jeff Jones, Bridgend council leader
"I'm supporting one of the best candidates"
BBC Wales's Guto Thomas reports
"Its only the second by-election of this parliament"
See also:

17 Dec 01 | Wales
Funeral for veteran MP Sir Ray
08 Dec 01 | Wales
Tributes to 'valued ally'
09 Dec 01 | Wales
Veteran Labour MP dies
30 Jun 99 | UK Politics
Welsh Labour old guard fights on
23 Nov 01 | UK Politics
Labour victory in Ipswich by-election
19 Nov 01 | UK Politics
Death of the by-election?
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