The Conservatives have taken the Vale of Clwyd parliamentary seat for the first time in a shock narrow victory over Labour.
Dr James Davies, a Prestatyn GP, clinched a slim majority of 237 after a recount at Denbigh Leisure Centre on Friday morning. The result ends Chris Ruane’s 18 years as the constituency MP, having been elected with a landslide in 1997, when the seat was created following boundary changes.
The Welsh Secretary of State, Stephen Crabb, congratulated Dr Davies for a ‘fabulous result’ on Twitter – on a night when the Tories also added the Gower and Brecon & Radnorshire.
After the result, Dr Davies said: “I don’t often go into things to lose them but even so. This is an amazing area…with amazing people and has been a privilege over the last two years to campaign here and meet so many people. I should also point out that in recent weeks, I’ve had the benefit of losing some weight and gaining a sun tan from sunny Rhyl, walking the streets.”
Mr Ruane spoke afterwards: “The people have spoken, so be it. I wish James well, it was a good, clean fight. I wish all of the candidates well. There was no nastiness, no bitterness and I like to think that’s good for local democracy. So, in conclusion, it’s been great being the MP for the last 18 years. I was the first ever Labour MP for Rhyl, Bodelwyddan and St Asaph, but there comes a time when things move on.”
Of the other candidates, UKIP surged to third place as Paul Davies-Cooke increased the party’s share from 1.4% in 2010 to 13% this time – his tally increased by nearly ninefold. Mair Rowlands also increased Plaid Cymru’s share slightly but the Liberal Democrats slumped to last place. Gwyn Williams lost his deposit with just 2.6% of the vote, compared to the 12.6% reached by Paul Penlington five years ago.
Overall, turnout was down a little on the last general election in 2010.
VALE OF CLWYD RESULT:
James Davies (Conservative): 13,760 (39%)
Chris Ruane (Labour): 13,523 (38.4%)
Paul Davies-Cooke (UKIP): 4,577 (13%)
Mair Rowlands (Plaid Cymru): 2,486 (7.1%)
Gwyn Williams (Liberal Democrat): 915 (2.6%)
Majority: 237 (0.7%)