2018 Alyn and Deeside by-election

The Alyn and Deeside by-election, 2018 is a by-election that took place in the National Assembly for Wales constituency of Alyn and Deeside on Tuesday 6 February 2018,[1] following the death of incumbent Labour AM Carl Sargeant on 7 November 2017.[2][3]

2018 Alyn and Deeside by-election

← 2016 6 February 2018 2021 →

The Alyn and Deeside seat in the Welsh Assembly.
Triggered by death of incumbent
Turnout29.1% (Decrease5.9%)
  First party Second party
 
Jack Sargeant AM (40900021582).png
Official portrait of Sarah Atherton MP crop 2.jpg
Candidate Jack Sargeant Sarah Atherton
Party Labour Conservative
Popular vote 11,267 4,722
Percentage 60.7% 25.4%
Swing Increase14.9% Increase4.4%

  Third party Fourth party
 
Donna_Lalek_Election.jpg
No image wide.svg
Candidate Donna Lalek Carrie Harper
Party Liberal Democrats Plaid Cymru
Popular vote 1,176 1,059
Percentage 6.3% 5.7%
Swing Increase1.8% Decrease3.3%

Alyn and Deeside (Assembly constituency).svg
Map showing the Alyn and Deeside Assembly constituency within the North Wales electoral region.

AM before election

Carl Sargeant
Labour

Subsequent AM

Jack Sargeant
Labour

The election was the fourth Assembly by-election to be held since its formation in 1999. The seat is a safe seat for the Labour Party, having been held continuously by the party since the beginning of devolved government. The corresponding seat in the UK Parliament has been held by Labour since its creation in 1983. As a result of the vacancy, the governing coalition of Labour, one Liberal Democrat and one Independent held exactly half of the seats in the Welsh Assembly, meaning that a gain for the opposition would have cost the government their majority.

BackgroundEdit

Carl Sargeant had been the Labour Party AM for the seat since the 2003 Assembly election, and held numerous junior and cabinet level positions before being appointed the Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children in May 2016. Amidst the 2017 Westminster sexual scandals he was suspended from the Labour Party and removed from his position on 3 November 2017, following unspecified allegations about his personal conduct.[4] He was found dead at his home in Connah's Quay four days later. North Wales Police said that they were not treating his death as suspicious.[5] It was reported that Sargeant had taken his own life.[2] At the opening of the inquest on 13 November, the coroner was told that his death was likely to have been due to hanging. The coroner also commented that the death was "an apparent act of self harm".[6]

The by-election was scheduled for the latest date possible – 6 February 2018 – three calendar months following Carl Sargeant's death. This resulted in the unusual situation of polling day falling on a Tuesday, breaking the convention of UK elections taking place on a Thursday. The Presiding Officer of the Welsh Assembly justified the choice of date as being due to the "sensitivities of the circumstances which led to the vacancy arising" as well as the impact of the Christmas break on arrangements.[7]

 
Donna Lalek and the Welsh Liberal Democrats on polling day.

CandidatesEdit

Welsh Labour announced that it would be drawing up a shortlist of candidates in advance of a ballot of local members. Jack Sargeant, the son of the former AM Carl Sargeant, announced that he was putting his name forward for selection. He cited a desire to continue his father's work in the constituency.[8] Also on Labour's shortlist were Flintshire County Councillor Carolyn Thomas and Saltney Town Councillor Hannah Jones.[9] Jack Sargeant was selected as the Labour candidate on 3 January 2018, reportedly winning over 50% of the vote.[10][11]

The Welsh Conservatives announced former district nurse and social worker Sarah Atherton as their candidate on 18 December 2017.[12] At the 2019 General Election, Atherton was elected as MP for the nearby constituency of Wrexham, becoming the first Conservative ever to win the seat.

UKIP stated that they would not field a candidate if Jack Sargeant was chosen as the Labour candidate.[9] The seat had been their top target two years previously.[13] Following Jack Sargaent's nomination as the Labour candidate on 3 January 2018 UKIP issued no further statement, but as expected no UKIP candidate appeared on the final list of candidates following the closure of nominations on 10 January 2018.

Plaid Cymru announced Wrexham County Borough Councillor Carrie Harper as their candidate on 3 January 2018.[14]

The Welsh Liberal Democrats announced bank worker and local Community Councillor Donna Lalek as their candidate on 21 December 2017.[15]

The Wales Green Party announced Duncan Rees as their candidate on 4 January 2018.[11]

Nominations closed at 4pm on 10 January 2018. A total of five candidates were nominated for the election.[16]

ResultEdit

2018 Alyn and Deeside by-election
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Jack Sargeant 11,267 60.7 +14.9
Conservative Sarah Atherton 4,722 25.4 +4.4
Liberal Democrats Donna Lalek 1,176 6.3 +1.8
Plaid Cymru Carrie Harper 1,059 5.7 −3.3
Green Duncan Rees 353 1.9 −0.5
Majority 6,545 35.3 +10.6
Turnout 18,577 29.1 −5.9
Labour hold Swing +5.3

Previous resultEdit

Welsh Assembly Election 2016: Alyn and Deeside
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Carl Sargeant 9,922 45.7 −6.9
Conservative Mike Gibbs 4,558 21.0 −7.1
UKIP Michelle Brown 3,765 17.4 +17.4
Plaid Cymru Jacqueline Hurst 1,944 9.0 +1.4
Liberal Democrats Peter Williams 980 4.5 −3.1
Green Martin Bennewith 527 2.4 New
Majority 5,364 24.7 +0.2
Turnout 21,696 35.0 −2.0
Labour hold Swing +0.1

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Carl Sargeant death: Alyn and Deeside by-election set for February". 4 December 2017 – via www.bbc.co.uk.
  2. ^ a b "Sacked Labour minister dies". 7 November 2017 – via www.bbc.co.uk.
  3. ^ Masters, Adrian. "The Alyn and Deeside by-election will be held on February 6th. That's a Tuesday". Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  4. ^ "Carl Sargeant removed from Welsh Government after allegations". BBC News. Retrieved 5 November 2017.
  5. ^ "Welsh Labour politician Carl Sargeant took own life days after being suspended over allegations about his conduct with women". telegraph. 7 November 2017.
  6. ^ "Carl Sargeant: 'Hanging' cause of ex-minister's death". BBC News. 13 November 2017.
  7. ^ Hodgson, Sarah (4 December 2017). "By-election to find Carl Sargeant's successor announced following AM's death". Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  8. ^ "Carl Sargeant's son in Alyn and Deeside by-election bid". 11 December 2017 – via www.bbc.co.uk.
  9. ^ a b "Sargeant's son on by-election shortlist". 19 December 2017. Retrieved 3 February 2018 – via www.bbc.co.uk.
  10. ^ "Sargeant's son chosen to fight by-election". 3 February 2018. Retrieved 3 February 2018 – via www.bbc.co.uk.
  11. ^ a b "Duncan Rees announces he will stand as prospective Green Party candidate in Alyn and Deeside by-election". 4 January 2018. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  12. ^ "Conservatives first to announce Alyn and Deeside by-election". 18 December 2017. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  13. ^ "UKIP rejects new AM in row over staff". 3 February 2018. Retrieved 3 February 2018 – via www.bbc.co.uk.
  14. ^ "Plaid Cymru announce Carrie Harper as choice to fight the Alyn & Deeside by-election". 3 January 2018. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  15. ^ "Welsh Liberal Democrats announce candidate for Alyn and Deeside by-election". 21 December 2017. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  16. ^ "Elections" (PDF). Retrieved 2018-02-08.