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Councils warned they have two years to improve local elections

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COUNCILS across Wales have been warned they have just two years to improve local democracy, after a new report has highlighted major issues with the most recent elections in May.

Time for Change: The 2022 Welsh Local Elections and the case for STV, published by campaigners ERS Cymru, has highlighted a slew of uncontested seats and disproportionate results under the current first past the post system [1]. 

It comes as local councils in Wales have the chance to change voting systems, with each council now able to vote to move to a fairer system, the single transferable vote (STV). However, councils will have to vote to move to STV by the 15th November 2024, two years from today in order for this to take effect for the next elections in 2027 [2]. 

Analysis of the 2022 Welsh local elections found that 74 seats in Wales were uncontested, meaning over 100,000 potential voters in Wales had no choice on who represents them in their local council. 

Furthermore, there are eight councils in Wales with ‘unearned majorities’ where a party holds over 50% of the seats on less than 50% of the vote, a third of all councils. 

The report also compares the Welsh local elections in 2022, with the Scottish local elections, where STV has been in place since 2007. It finds that Scottish election results are dramatically more proportional, with only two local authorities in Scotland with ‘unearned majorities’ – , just 6% of councils compared with over one third in Wales.

It also finds that uncontested seats have vastly reduced in Scotland under a fairer voting system, with just 27 uncontested seats in total in the four elections since the voting system change, compared with 61 in just the final First Past the Post election alone. 

Commenting on the report Jess Blair, Director of ERS Cymru, said:

“Our research shows a stark picture of a voting system that does not deliver for voters in Wales. Everyone should be able to go into a polling station on election day knowing their vote will count. But for over 100,000 people their elections were cancelled this May with the winners declared without a single ballot cast. For millions more there was no guarantee that their vote would matter or be reflected in the result.

“The good news is that there is an alternative. This report highlights how much of an improvement moving to STV has been in Scotland, reducing uncontested seats and making votes count so much more. 

“We have the chance to follow Scotland’s lead and for each council in Wales to vote to move to STV. Councillors must grasp the nettle and vote for this much-needed change in the next two years to really ensure a strong local democracy for Wales”. 

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Milford Haven father of two sadly dies following medical emergency in Mount Estate

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A MAN was found unresponsive, and sadly later passed away in The Mount Estate, Milford Haven on Wednesday evening (Dec 9).

Police vehicles and an ambulance responded to a call coming from Chestnut Way just before midnight, but despite the excellent efforts of the paramedics attending, the man could not be revived.

The man who passed away has been named locally as Paddy McManamon, age 30, a well known local and a father of two young children.

A spokesperson for Dyfed-Powys Police confirmed to The Pembrokeshire Herald by way of an official statement: “At 11.45pm on Wednesday, 7 December, police were called to Chestnut Way, Mount state, Milford Haven, after a male was found unresponsive.

“The male sadly passed away.

“His death is not being treated as suspicious.”

Paddy McManamon’s cousin, Tara-Jade Riley paid tribute on social media saying: “We had some awful news our lovely cousin has passed away.

“You were such an amazing person but now you have gained your wings.

“So go and have a Guinness up there with our Nans and give them both a big hug from us all.

“Such a young man will be sadly missed by all of us – until we meet again, God bless you.”

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Christmas Gift Subscription wins £10,000!

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Carol Ormond with daughter Collette, granddaughter Ellie and great granddaughter Polly

THE PEMBROKESHIRE LOTTERY has awarded one lucky player a massive £10,000 in their Christmas Superdraw. 

The Superdraw was held on Wednesday, December 7 and the winner was Mrs Carol Ormond from Pembroke with lottery number 48095.

After Carol’s name was announced on 102.5 Radio Pembrokeshire, the team at the Pembrokeshire Lottery made contact with her and presented the winning cheque later that day. The win was made extra special as Mrs Ormond’s lottery membership was a Gift Subscription from her daughter last Christmas. Accompanying her were daughter Collette, granddaughter Ellie and great granddaughter Polly.

The normal weekly £2,000 draws now continue until the next monthly Superdraw for £4,000 on January 4. However, as the Lottery celebrates it’s 30 th Anniversary next year, there will be higher prize amounts than usual as the 3 x £8,000 draws in March, June and September will all be increased to £10,000!

Pembrokeshire Lottery Gift Subscriptions make ideal gifts for anyone and can be purchased for either 6 months or a full year. To order yours or to join up to play yourself, ring the Pembrokeshire Lottery on 01646 690800.

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Four rescued following early morning mayday call

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FOUR fishermen have been rescued in the early hours of this morning (December 7) after their vessel is said to have hit rocks near Skomer Island.

The Coastguard received a mayday call from the stricken vessel just before midnight, with lifeboat crews from Angle and St Davids sent to assist.

The crew abandoned the vessel and were located in a life raft nearby and were taken onboard the Angle lifeboat.

Milford Haven Coastguard have confirmed that no injuries have been reported and the crew were safely brought ashore at Milford Haven.

Arrangements are being made to recover the fishing vessel and to assess whether there is any pollution.

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