"The constituency of Clwyd West is a new seat, made up mainly of the former Clwyd North West seat, which was the safest Tory seat in Wales, with a long history of Conservative control at Westminster and which was held by Rod Richards, formerly a Welsh Office minister under the Conservative government. Clwyd West was contested for the first time at the 1997 General Election, when Gareth Thomas snatched it for Labour with a narrow majority of 1,848. Plaid Cymru came third with 5,421 votes, and the Liberal Democrats fourth with 5,151. Economically and socially, the seat comprises the coastal retirement and holiday areas around Colwyn Bay, together with inland rural areas which have higher proportions of Welsh speakers. The area is part of the Denbighshire and Conwy local authorities, both of which voted No in the 1997 devolution referendum, Denbighshire by a majority of 6,461 and Conwy by 8,152. Both local councils are in no overall control. In Denbighshire, the Independents are the largest grouping on 19, Labour the next-largest, with 15, followed by Plaid Cymru with 7, and Independent Labour and the Liberal Democrats on 3 each. Conwy's largest grouping is Labour, who have 18 councillors, followed by the Liberal Democrat Alliance, who have 11, the Conservatives and Independents who have 10 each, the Liberal Democrats, who have 6, and Plaid Cymru who have 5. Clwyd West is a top target seat for the Conservatives in the National Assembly elections."