Page last updated at 14:33 GMT, Friday, 2 May 2008 15:33 UK

Plaid loses majority in Gwynedd

Schools protest in Gwynedd
School closure plans have proved a contentious issue

Plaid Cymru has lost control of Gwynedd council in the local elections.

Rival party Llais Gwynedd (Gwynedd Voice) - set up as a result of disputed plans to reorganise primary education in the county - won 12 seats.

A shock result in the county was the defeat of Plaid Cymru president and party leader in Gwynedd, Dafydd Iwan.

Aeron Jones, from Llais Gwynedd, said the results sent a clear message that councillors and politicians needed to listen to what the public was saying.

Plaid Cymru's Richard Parry Hughes, outgoing Gwynedd council leader, also lost his seat to Llais Gwynedd.

Following the count, Mr Hughes said: "This is what the people of Gwynedd want. Democracy is a healthy thing.

There will be a big change now in the way things are done
Clive McGregor, new Anglesey councillor

"It is a pity for us as the largest group, and also for members such as Dafydd Iwan who has worked very, very hard, but still lost his seat."

He added the schools reorganisation document might have been the "catalyst" for the way the vote went, but added that he thought the situation had been misunderstood.

"It was put that this document was the finished article which would be put in place and acted upon.

"But that is not the case at all, this document was merely a consultation."

The final tally in Gwynedd was Plaid Cymru 35, Independents 16, Llais Gwynedd 12, Liberal Democrats five, Labour five and Unaffiliated two.

The election for one seat in Blaenau Ffestiniog was postponed because of a candidate's death.

'Clear message'

Plaid Cymru leader and Anglesey AM Ieuan Wyn Jones said it had been a "mixed night with good success in parts of Wales, showing that Plaid Cymru was now a party for the whole of the country".

But he said the result in Gwynedd was a "big disappointment" and there were lessons to be learned.

Aeron Jones from Llais Gwynedd - who snatched a Plaid Cymru seat from Glyn Owen in Llanwnda near Caernarfon - said the result sent a "clear message to every councillor and politician" that they had to listen to what people were saying and not to push through policies regardless of public opinion.

On schools reorganisation he added: "It is an exciting time" in Gwynedd.

"Everything will have to be looked at again from the beginning," he added.

'Big change'

The final tally on Anglesey was independent 22, Plaid eight, Labour five, Conservatives two, Lib Dems two and unaffiliated one.

Fifteen members of the old council have lost their seats and Plaid said this could result in a change in leadership.

Party sources think the original independents will do a deal with Plaid which the Lib Dems and Tories will join as well.

Plaid Cymru's group leader on the council Bob Parry said the change in leadership would be a "good thing" for the county where voters had shown they were "fed-up" of problems within the council.

One of the new councillors, Clive McGregor, who won in the ward of Llanddyfnan, said: "The electors have done a pretty good job in changing the council by getting 13 new councillors.

"There will be a big change now in the way things are done and it should improve confidence in the council," he added.

'No majority'

In Conwy, both the Conservatives and Plaid Cymru each won nine seats with the independents taking eight, Labour seven and Liberal Democrats two.

Colwyn Bay Plaid councillor Phil Edwards said he was personally very pleased with the result as he had retained his seat with 1,500 votes.

Of the new council he said: "We don't know yet who will rule the council as no-one has a majority.

"The various party leaders will have to get together however and work out a way forward.

"But one thing is certain, we won't be signing anything unless we think it will benefit the electorate," he added.




video and audio news
Roger Pinney on Plaid Cymru losses in Gwynedd




WELSH COUNCIL ELECTIONS 2008

  Councillors Councils
Party +/- Total +/- Total
LAB -124 342 -6 2
CON 63 174 1 2
PC 31 205 -1 0
LD 21 162 0 0
OTH 9 381 0 0
NOC - - 6 18
22 of 22 councils declared.

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