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Last Updated: Monday, 2 April 2007, 17:06 GMT 18:06 UK
New seat, old tussle in Aberconwy
By Elin Gwilym
Political reporter

Llandudno
Llandudno seen from the route of the Great Orme tram
Aberconwy may be a new constituency, but it is also witnessing a rerun of the battle of the Joneses.

In 2003 Plaid Cymru's Gareth Jones lost his Conwy Welsh assembly seat to Denise Idris Jones by just 72 votes. Four years on, he wants revenge.

After a series of nail biting re-counts there were scenes of Labour jubilation at the Colwyn Bay Leisure Centre in the early hours of 5 May, 2003.

Labour's victory meant Rhodri Morgan could form a government in Cardiff Bay.

If Labour want a majority this election they probably have to hold on to this seat, but things have changed since 2003. If this seat falls it will hardly be an election shocker.

ELECTION CANDIDATES
Euron Hughes, Lib Dem
Denise Idris-Jones, Labour
Gareth Jones, Plaid Cymru
Dylan Jones-Evans, Conservative

Boundary changes mean that the odds are stacked against Labour. The city of Bangor has been a fertile ground for Labour, but it is no longer part of the constituency.

Instead the rural Conwy Valley and Llanrwst join Llandudno, Conwy and Penmaenmawr to form the new Aberconwy seat. On paper this new constituency, in assembly terms, may be regarded as a Plaid Cymru/Conservative marginal.

Core voters

Conwy was traditionally a Tory stronghold held by former Welsh Office minister Sir Wyn Roberts until 1997.

The current Tory candidate, Professor Dylan Jones Evans, hopes the people of Llandudno and Penrhyn Bay will revert to their Tory allegiances and vote for him.

But many traditional Conservatives are not overly enthusiastic about devolution, and his challenge may be to get his core voters to the polling booth.

Erasmus Street, Penmaenmawr
Homes built for quarry workers in Erasmus Street, Penmaenmawr
Always the bridesmaid, never the bride, could sum up the Liberal Democrat performance in Conwy.

But Euron Hughes, standing at the electoral altar for the first time, hopes he can capitalise in the new rural areas of the seat for the Lib Dems. He claims Iraq is an issue on the doorstep.

Labour's Betty Williams became Conwy MP in 1997 and has since built on her majority. Denise Idris Jones won the assembly seat for Labour in 2003 and hopes her efforts in the constituency will work in her favour this time.

She again faces Plaid Cymru's Gareth Jones, who has been trying to build on his profile as a Conwy councillor over the past four years.

But this is far from comfortable Plaid territory, and its 1999 election victory here was a huge shock. But unlike other constituencies such as Islwyn and Rhondda, Plaid could realistically expect to win this seat back.

But the Conservatives insist this is no two-horse race, and all will be trying to keep up with the Joneses.




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"This is a brand new constituency"





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