Election 2019

General election 2019: The view from Clwyd South

Pontcysyllte Aqueduct
Image caption The constituency includes Thomas Telford's imposing Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

Clwyd South includes Wrexham suburbs like picturesque Bangor on Dee, tourism hotspot Llangollen in Denbighshire and nearby Chirk with its imposing castle.

It is a constituency with a mix of urban and rural communities and political views.

What are the key election issues for voters in Clwyd South?

Bangor-on-Dee Racecourse is a hub for racegoers and a great place to assess how voters feel about the runners and riders.

At one meeting, Ron Roberts says: "I've voted Labour all my life, but I'll vote Tory this time and I hope to God my dad doesn't turn in his grave. Boris has got a bit of backbone but Corbyn, you can't vote for him, can you?"

It is the scrapping of free television licences for some over 75s which is a big issue for retired miner and Labour voter Derek White.

"I'm 84 years of age and to start paying for a television licence again, things like that, you know, they're just taking money out of your pocket," he says.

Image caption Mixed opinions... David Darlington, Dilly Cooper, Derek White and Sharon Briscoe
Image caption Clwyd South election results from 2017

Analysis

Vaughan Roderick, BBC Welsh affairs editor

Clwyd South is one of a cluster of seats in north east Wales that the Conservatives always seem to target but never seem to win.

There hasn't been a Tory MP in southern Clwyd since Mrs Thatcher's day and local residents even rebuffed the charms of a certain Boris Johnson when he tried his hand here in the 1990s.

The seat itself is a bit of a mixed bag of communities, including as it does Wrexham's southern suburbs, former coal mining communities like Rhosllanerchrugog and the tourism honey pot of Llangollen.

Traditionally the parties in contention here, at least in Westminster elections, have been Labour and the Conservatives with neither Plaid Cymru nor the Liberal Democrats getting much of a look in. That's not likely to change this time round.

While Labour has held the seat since its formation, their majority has fluctuated wildly and might even disappear in a Conservative landslide.

That seems like a long shot though. It's far more likely that voters here will once more give Boris the brush off.

Image caption St Dunawd's Church at Bangor-on-Dee

During a visit to the village of Bangor-on-Dee, Dilly Cooper and David Darlington had separate concerns about mental health and Brexit.

"I think there should be more emphasis on life in rural areas," says Dilly.

"Mental health, for example, is an issue nationwide but it doesn't get aired greatly as a rural problem."

David is concerned that the UK's departure from the EU is holding up other important decisions.

"Let's get Brexit sorted out then we can get on with all the other things," he says.

"Let's get this log-jam in Parliament sorted out."

Image caption Sarah Evans (right) enjoys a catch up in a community cafe in Cefn Mawr

There is also a mix of opinion in Cefn Mawr, a village in the Dee Valley, a few miles west of Bangor-on-Dee.

It has had a long industrial heritage but in the last decade a number of local factories like Flexsys and Air Products have closed.

"Things would be better economically with the Conservatives," says Paul Ashton while enjoying a morning coffee at Dee Valley Trust Community Centre.

"Some of the Labour policies at the moment do worry me. They want to nationalise everything."

Sarah Evans is a Plaid Cymru supporter and she says policing is a priority following cuts which she blames on the Conservatives.

"If they hadn't cut 21,000 in the first place we wouldn't have been in this situation," she says.

Sharon Briscoe worked in the NHS as a nurse and said she saw first-hand how political decisions affect patient experiences.

"I'm feeling guilty because I'm seeming to go toward the Conservatives. I feel totally let down by the Labour Party," she said.

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