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Wednesday, September 1, 1999 Published at 14:28 GMT 15:28 UK

UK: Wales: AMs

Christine Gwyther


Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire Constituency

Assembly Secretary for Agriculture and the Rural Economy
Personal Details

Albion Square Primary School, Pembroke Dock.
Pembroke Grammar School.
University College Cardiff.

Previous Occupation(s)
Local Government Officer, Pembrokeshire County Council.

Political Career
AM for the Constituency of Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire since May 6, 1999.
Assembly Secretary for Agriculture and the Rural Economy 1999-.

A 36-year-old council official when elected, she got one of the Assembly's most sensitive jobs when she was appointed as Secretary for Agriculture and Rural Affairs.

She immediately ran into a storm of criticism from Welsh farmers, when it emerged she was a long-term vegetarian, because of her concern for animal welfare. As Welsh agriculture is so heavily dependent on livestock, a sector which has suffered heavily due to animal welfare worries and public health scares, many farmers' leaders said her position was untenable. Farmersí Union pickets said "Gwyther Must Go".

However, Ms Gwyther dismissed calls for her resignation, and thanks to the support from First Secretary Alun Michael, she ignored a censure motion passed against her by the other three parties in the Assembly due to her failure to get EU permission for a go-it-alone aid scheme for Welsh farmers. However, she remains under great pressure to prove her effectiveness in helping Welsh agriculture.

She holds her seat by only a small majority from the Plaid candidate. Farming and tourism are the main industries in this mixed seat, where there is also strong Tory support.

Previously she worked in the economic development department at Pembrokeshire County Council, helping to set up small businesses (and had expected to get an economic post). She was Nick Aingerís agent in the 1997 election. She is a member of the RSPB, and enjoys the beach and walking.

Welsh Assembly Election of May 6, 1999
Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire Constituency
Gwyther, C. (Lab) 9,891 35.14%
Llewellyn, R. (PC) 8,399 29.84%
Edwards, D. (Con) 5,079 18.04%
Davies, E. (Ind) 2,090 7.42%
Williams, R. (LD) 1,875 6.66%
Fry, G. (TFPW) 815 2.90%


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