2012 Cardiff South and Penarth by-election

Following the resignation of the sitting MP Alun Michael on 22 October 2012, a by-election for the Cardiff South and Penarth Westminster constituency was held on 15 November 2012.[1]

2012 Cardiff South and Penarth by-election

← 2010 15 November 2012 2015 →

The Cardiff South and Penarth Parliamentary seat in the House of Commons
  First party Second party Third party
  Official portrait of Stephen Doughty crop 2.jpg Official portrait of Craig Williams MP crop 2.jpg No image wide.svg
Candidate Stephen Doughty Craig Williams Bablin Molik
Party Labour Conservative Liberal Democrats
Popular vote 9,193 3,859 2,103
Percentage 47.3 19.9 10.8
Swing Increase8.4% Decrease8.4% Decrease11.5%

  Fourth party Fifth party
  Blank Blank
Candidate Luke Nicholas Simon Zeigler
Party Plaid Cymru UKIP
Popular vote 1,854 1,179
Percentage 9.5 6.1
Swing Increase5.3% Increase3.5%

Boundary of Cardiff South and Penarth in Wales.
Boundary of Cardiff South and Penarth in Wales.

MP before election

Alun Michael

Subsequent MP

Stephen Doughty

Stephen Doughty of the Labour Party won the election with 47.3% of the vote.

The by-election was held on the same day as the Manchester Central and Corby by-elections, and the inaugural Police and Crime Commissioner elections.


The seat has been held by Labour since its creation in 1983. Full background details of the constituency are on Cardiff South and Penarth (UK Parliament constituency)

This was the first by-election to be held in Cardiff since the Cardiff East by-election of 1942.

Michael resigned after being selected as the Labour Party candidate in the Police and Crime Commissioner Elections for South Wales Police the election for which was also held on 15 November 2012. Michael successfully won the PCC election. PCC election candidates did not have to resign their seats in Parliament upon becoming a nominee. However, in the event of their victory in the election they would have been obliged to do so.[2] Knowing that his likelihood of victory in a traditionally pro-Labour region was high, Michael chose to resign early in order for the Westminster by-election to be able to be held at the same time as the PCC election rather than forcing voters to go to the polls again a few weeks later. The decision to resign upon nomination rather than victory was similarly made by Tony Lloyd, who had been nominated as a PCC candidate for the Greater Manchester Police area and resulted in the 2012 Manchester Central by-election being held on the same day.

On 22 October 2012, Alun Michael was appointed Steward and Bailiff of the Three Hundreds of Chiltern,[3][4] the manner in which resignations from the House of Commons are permitted.

The writ for the by-election in Cardiff South and Penarth was moved on 23 October 2012 and the deadline for nominations was 4 pm on 31 October 2012.[5]


Cardiff City Council released the Statement of Persons Nominated on 1 November 2012.

The Labour and Co-operative Party selected the head of Oxfam Cymru[6] Stephen Doughty[7] as its candidate in July 2012 in controversial circumstances. Although initially excluded from the shortlist, Doughty was actively endorsed by the then incumbent Labour MP Alun Michael (a long-time family friend)[8] who insisted on his inclusion and advocated his selection. Some Labour activists considered Michael's involvement was improper saying "It’s no business at all of an outgoing MP to interfere in the selection of a candidate to succeed him in such a way".[8] The ballot paper description for Stephen Doughty was "Welsh Labour".

Cardiff City councillor Craig Williams was confirmed as the Conservative candidate on 13 September.[9] Cllr Williams represents Cardiff on the Local Government Association.

Dr Bablin Molik was chosen by the Liberal Democrats as their candidate. Dr Molik is a medical researcher with a PhD.[10]

Luke Nicholas was chosen by Plaid Cymru. The party described him as a trade unionist employed as a researcher at the National Assembly who specialises in finance, transport and local government.[11]

Andrew Jordan, 24, the president of the Socialist Labour Party (UK) and a former resident of Cardiff South and Penarth, represented the party.[12] Jordan previously headed the SLP list of candidates for South Wales Central in the 2011 Welsh Assembly Elections.

The general secretary of the Communist Party of Britain (CPB), Robert Griffiths, who stood in the 2010 general election, was the candidate of the Welsh Communist Party, the local part of the CPB.[13]

The Green Party candidate was Anthony Slaughter, chair of the local environmental group Gwyrddio Penarth Greening. Slaughter is a garden designer who has worked in Penarth since 2004.[14]

Simon Zeigler became the UK Independence Party candidate. He was a parole office worker who stood for them in the 2010 general election.[15]

Cardiff South and Penarth was viewed as one of the safest Labour seats in Britain but ever since 1997 Alun Michael had seen his majority being progressively eroded. However, in the by-election held on 15 November 2012, Labour's decline was reversed - although on a basis of very low turn-out (down 38.2% on the 2010 general election). Labour's Stephen Doughty succeeded Alun Michael with 9,193 votes, comprising 47.3% of the overall vote. This was an increase of 8.4% on Michael's 2010 performance. Doughty thus became the third MP in the constituency's history.

In this by-election, Conservatives saw their support slide by the identical percentage by which Labour's rose (8.4%) and achieved only 19.9% of the vote (3,859 votes). The Liberal Democrats' support declined by even more than that of their UK Coalition partners (down 11.5%). Plaid Cymru's share of the vote rose to 9.5% (1,854 votes, up 5.4%); however these percentages may mask reality because Plaid Cymru only gained a mere 3 votes more than the total they polled in 2010. Also performing well in percentage terms was UKIP with their support rising by 3.1% (to 6.1% of the total). Greens also increased their share of the vote to 4.1% (a rise of 2.9%). The veteran Communist campaigner Robert Griffiths saw his support rise slightly to a 1.1% share of the vote.

By-election resultEdit

2012 Cardiff South and Penarth by-election[16]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Stephen Doughty 9,193 47.3 +8.4
Conservative Craig Williams 3,859 19.9 -8.4
Liberal Democrats Bablin Molik 2,103 10.8 −11.5
Plaid Cymru Luke Nicholas 1,854 9.5 +5.3
UKIP Simon Zeigler 1,179 6.1 +3.5
Green Anthony Slaughter 800 4.1 +2.9
Socialist Labour Andrew Jordan 235 1.2 N/A
Communist Robert Griffiths 213 1.1 +0.7
Rejected ballots 135
Majority 5,334 27.4 +16.8
Turnout 19,436 25.7 -34.8
Registered electors 76,764
Labour hold Swing +8.4

Of the 135 rejected ballots:

  • 63 were either unmarked or it was uncertain who the vote was for.[16]
  • 69 voted for more than one candidate.[16]
  • 3 had writing or a mark by which the voter could be identified.[16]

Previous resultEdit

General election 2010: Cardiff South and Penarth[17][18][19]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Alun Michael 17,262 38.9 −7.7
Conservative Simon Hoare 12,553 28.3 +4.4
Liberal Democrats Dominic Hannigan 9,875 22.3 +2.4
Plaid Cymru Farida Aslam 1,851 4.2 −1.1
UKIP Simon Zeigler 1,145 2.6 +1.2
Independent George Burke 648 1.5 N/A
Green Matthew Townsend 554 1.2 −0.6
Christian Clive Bate 285 0.6 N/A
Communist Robert Griffiths 196 0.4 N/A
Majority 4,709 10.6 -14.4
Turnout 44,369 60.2 +2.0
Registered electors 73,707
Labour hold Swing −6.0

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Upcoming Elections and Polls". Cardiff Council. Archived from the original on 16 September 2012. Retrieved 31 May 2021. Cardiff Council
  2. ^ "Guidance for candidates and agents Part 1 of 6 – Can you stand for election?" (PDF). The Electoral Commission. The Electoral Commission. Retrieved 31 May 2021.
  3. ^ "Alun Michael stands down as Cardiff South and Penarth MP today", Wales Online, 21 October 2012.
  4. ^ Press Release 22-Oct-2012 Cabinet Office
  5. ^ "Date set for three parliamentary by-elections". BBC News. Retrieved 31 May 2021.
  6. ^ "Oxfam boss Doughty is Labour by-election candidate", BBC News, 15 July 2012.
  7. ^ Cardiff South and Penarth candidate selected LabourList
  8. ^ a b Martin Shipton (13 July 2012) "Alun Michael at the centre of selection row over next Cardiff South MP", Wales Online. Retrieved 2013-12-19.
  9. ^ Cardiff councillor Craig Williams selected as the Conservative candidate for the Cardiff South and Penarth by-election Conservative Home
  10. ^ "Lib Dems select candidate for Cardiff South and Penarth by-election", Penarth Times, 17 July 2012. Retrieved 2013-12-19.
  11. ^ "Plaid select Luke Nicholas to contest upcoming cardiff south and penarth by-election", Plaid Cymru, 10 July 2012. Retrieved 2013-12-19.
  12. ^ SLP's Andrew Jordan to contest the Cardiff South and Penarth by-election Socialist Labour Party
  13. ^ Communists to contest Cardiff South and Penarth Welsh Communists
  14. ^ Green party announces Penarth election candidate Penarth Times 4 October 2012
  15. ^ UKIP Website: UKIP picks its man for Cardiff South
  16. ^ a b c d "Cardiff South and Penarth result". Election results for Cardiff South and Penarth. City of Cardiff Council. Retrieved 18 January 2020.
  17. ^ "Election Data 2010". Electoral Calculus. Archived from the original on 26 July 2013. Retrieved 17 October 2015.
  18. ^ Cardiff South and Penarth Archived 9 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine Cardiff County Council – candidates Cardiff South and Penarth
  19. ^ BBC Election Results BBC News – Election Results – Cardiff South and Penarth