Nerys Evans, the Plaid Cymru AM for Mid and West Wales, announced earlier that she hopes to change seats. The 30 year old who has sat in the Assembly since 2007 said on Twitter that she’s put her name forward for nomination in the Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire seat .
“have put my name forward for the #plaidcymru nomination for Carms West and South Pembs for the Assembly election.”
This isn’t the first high profile potential constituency swap at the next Assembly election – remember that attack by Alun Davies on Blaenau Gwent AM Trish Law? Its over a year now since he announced his intention to run for her seat. Interestingly 50% of the Mid and West Wales regional AMs are now contesting other seats in the 2011 election. I wonder if there’s something in the water...
This isn’t the start of a mass exodus of regional AMs challenging for constituency seats – Peter Black has already ruled out standing in Swansea West for example. But it may be an indication that AMs who are looking to climb the party ladder feel that being a constituency AM gives them more legitimacy.
So what are Nerys Evans’ chances in Carms West and South Pembs? Well in the last two Assembly elections Plaid Cymru have not been that far behind there. In 2007 Angela Burns won the seat with only 250 more votes than Plaid Cymru’s John Dixon. But Plaid Cymru came third. With the 2007 vote being such a close race - two parties on 29% and one on 30% - anything is possible.
Angela Burns should still feel quite confident however given that the Conservatives had a 9.8% swing to them in Carmarthen West last time around. It makes even better reading for the Conservatives if you look at the Westminster election results there. Plaid Cymru nowhere near the top spot – fighting it out with the Lib Dems for third place.
So why take the risk? As the top name on Plaid's Mid and West list Nerys Evans is pretty much guaranteed to hold onto her seat in 2011. If Nerys Evans was moving to a safe Plaid constituency you could understand – but Carmarthen West? Am I perhaps being too cynical about politics? Could it be that as a local girl Nerys Evans just wants to fight for the chance to represent her local area?
Whatever the rationale behind it this is a big gamble by Nerys Evans. If it pays off it may give her more credibility as she moves up the Plaid ranks. But if it doesn’t - one of Plaid Cymru’s rising stars will be out in the cold this time next year.
P.S Nerys Evans has yet to win the nomination –she has simply put herself forward.