"This mid Wales seat is a traditional Liberal Democrat stronghold at Westminster, and has been held by the party for almost a century, only once passing out of the party’s control - in 1979 when the Tories took it for the term of a single parliament. Lembit Opik held it for the Liberal Democrats at the 1997 General Election, with a majority of 6,303 over the Tories, who polled 8,344. Labour came third with 6,109 votes and Plaid Cymru came fourth with 1,608. The seat is almost entirely rural and which contains the towns of Welshpool and Newtown, is largely English-speaking, although Welsh is the main language of many communities in the western portion of the constituency. It is part of the Powys local authority, whose electors voted No in the 1997 devolution referendum by a majority of 7,928. Powys is controlled by the Independent group, which has 57 of the councillors. The Liberal Democrats have 10, Labour 9, the Conservatives 4 and Plaid Cymru 1."