Welsh Tory leader Nick Bourne loses regional seat

Nick Bourne Nick Bourne found out he had lost via Twitter

The Conservatives have suffered a shock defeat with the loss of Wales party leader Nick Bourne.

Mr Bourne failed to regain his Mid and West Wales regional seat.

The result came despite, or perhaps because of his party's success elsewhere, dealing a severe blow to the Lib Dems by gaining Montgomeryshire.

Montgomeryshire had been held by Mick Bates for the Lib Dems since 1999. He was expelled after he was convicted last year of an attack on paramedics.

Mr Bates had decided to stand down as an AM before his court conviction.

Mr Bourne said he was "obviously very disappointed" to lose his seat. He discovered his fate via Titter, he told BBC Wales.

"I've loved what I've been doing in the assembly," he said.

He said he had "12 marvellous years" as an AM for mid and west Wales.

Conservative MP Jonathan Evans said the "vagaries" of the electoral system were to blame.

Because the Conservatives made gains in constituencies in Mr Bourne's area, his hold on the Mid and West Wales regional list became vulnerable.

Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan said: "Nick Bourne played a lead role in transforming the image and fortunes of the Welsh Conservative Party for more than a decade.

"His leadership, vision and courage have been central to the party's unprecedented levels of success in recent years.

"I personally have valued his friendship and working with him in moving the Conservative Party forward in Wales.

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We're constantly being asked about the effects of the coalition impacting on our politics here”

End Quote Kirsty Williams Welsh Liberal Democat leader

"This result is a great loss to the National Assembly and to me personally."

A party spokesman said the Welsh Conservative Management board and Tory AMs would meet as soon as possible, possibly over the weekend, to chose an interim leader.

The Welsh party does not have a deputy leader in the assembly at present.

Mr Bourne's eventual successor will be decided by the party membership.

Conservative AM David Melding, who said he would not run for the leadership vacancy, advised his party on Twitter to "take this slowly and do it properly"

In Montgomeryshire, Tory candidate Russell George landed 10,026 votes to defeat Lib Dems candidate Wyn Williams.

Meanwhile, Lib Dem Welsh leader Kirsty Williams held onto Brecon and Radnorshire.

Ms Williams, who became the leader of the party in 2008, held off a strong challenge from Conservative candidate Chris Davies in the rural seat.

She has held the mid Wales seat since 1999.

Ms Williams said: "It's been a tough campaign for the Welsh Liberal Democrats. We've seen some disappointing results tonight.

'Big challenge'

"It's been a tough campaign and that's been reflected in some of the seats where perhaps we haven't been able to concentrate our efforts."

She added: "There's been a big challenge for us with our colleagues in Westminster in power for the first time.

"We're constantly being asked about the effects of the coalition impacting on our politics here."

Meanwhile, Plaid Cymru's Elin Jones, the rural affairs minister in the last assembly government, held Ceredigion.

Ms Jones had a majority of 1,777 over second-placed Liberal Democrat Elizabeth Evans.

Elsewhere in the region, Plaid Cymru's Rhodri Glyn Thomas held Carmarthen East and Dinefwr.

Mid and West Wales list seats were won by Labour's Joyce Watson, who returns to the Senedd, Rebecca Evans, Plaid Cymru's Simon Thomas and Liberal Democrat William Powell.

BBC Mid Wales

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