Cardiff South and Penarth by-election, 2012

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Cardiff South and Penarth by-election, 2012
United Kingdom
← 2010 15 November 2012 2015 →
Candidate Stephen Doughty Craig Williams Bablin Molik
Party Labour Conservative Liberal Democrat
Popular vote 9,193 3,859 2,103
Percentage 47.3 19.9 10.8

Candidate Luke Nicholas Simon Zeigler
Party Plaid Cymru UKIP
Popular vote 1,854 1,179
Percentage 9.5 6.1

Boundary of Cardiff South and Penarth in Wales.
Boundary of Cardiff South and Penarth in Wales.

MP before election

Alun Michael

Subsequent MP

Stephen Doughty

Following the resignation of the sitting MP Alun Michael on 22 October 2012, a by-election for the Cardiff South and Penarth Westminster constituency was held on 15 November 2012.[1]

Stephen Doughty of the Labour Party won the election with 47.3% of the vote.

The by-election was held on the same day as the Manchester Central and Corby by-elections, and the inaugural Police and Crime Commissioner elections.


The seat has been held by Labour since its creation in 1983. Full background details of the constituency are on Cardiff South and Penarth (UK Parliament constituency)

This was the first by-election to be held in Cardiff since the Cardiff East by-election of 1942.

Michael resigned after being selected as the Labour Party candidate in the Police and Crime Commissioner Elections for South Wales Police the election for which was also held on 15 November 2012. Michael successfully won the PCC election. PCC election candidates did not have to resign their seats in Parliament upon becoming a nominee. However in the event of their victory in the election they would have been obliged to do so.[2] Knowing that his likelihood of victory in a traditionally pro-Labour region was high, Michael chose to resign early in order for the Westminster by-election to be able to be held at the same time as the PCC election rather than forcing voters to go to the polls again a few weeks later. The decision to resign upon nomination rather than victory was similarly made by Tony Lloyd, who had been nominated as a PCC candidate for the Greater Manchester Police area and resulted in the Manchester Central by-election, 2012 being held on the same day.

On 22 October 2012, Alun Michael was appointed Steward and Bailiff of the Three Hundreds of Chiltern,[3][4] the manner in which resignations from the House of Commons are permitted.

The writ for the by-election in Cardiff South and Penarth was moved on 23 October 2012 and the deadline for nominations was 4 pm on 31 October 2012.[5]


Cardiff City Council released the Statement of Persons Nominated on 1 November 2012.[6]

The Labour and Co-operative Party selected the head of Oxfam Cymru[7] Stephen Doughty [8] as its candidate in July 2012 in controversial circumstances. Although initially excluded from the shortlist, Doughty was actively endorsed by the then incumbent Labour MP Alun Michael (a long-time family friend)[9] who insisted on his inclusion and advocated his selection. Some Labour activists considered Michael's involvement was improper saying “It’s no business at all of an outgoing MP to interfere in the selection of a candidate to succeed him in such a way.”[9] The ballot paper description for Stephen Doughty was "Welsh Labour".

Cardiff City councillor Craig Williams[10] was confirmed as the Conservative candidate on 13 September.[11] Cllr Williams represents Cardiff on the Local Government Association.

Dr Bablin Molik was chosen by the Liberal Democrats as their candidate. Dr Molik is a medical researcher with a PhD.[12]

Luke Nicholas was chosen by Plaid Cymru. The party described him as a trade unionist employed as a researcher at the National Assembly who specialises in finance, transport and local government.[13]

Andrew Jordan, 24, the president of the Socialist Labour Party (UK) and a former resident of Cardiff South and Penarth, represented them the party.[14] Jordan previously headed the SLP list of candidates for South Wales Central in the 2011 Welsh Assembly Elections.

The general secretary of the Communist Party of Britain (CPB), Robert Griffiths, who stood in the 2010 general election, was the candidate of the Welsh Communist Party, the local part of the CPB.[15]

The Green Party candidate was Anthony Slaughter, chair of the local environmental group Gwyrddio Penarth Greening. Slaughter is a garden designer who has worked in Penarth since 2004.[16]

Simon Zeigler became the UK Independence Party candidate. He was a parole office worker who stood for them in the 2010 General Election.[17]

Cardiff South and Penarth was viewed as one of the safest Labour seats in Britain but ever since 1997 Alun Michael had seen his majority being progressively eroded. However, in the by-election held on 15 November 2012, Labour's decline was reversed - although on a basis of very low turn-out (down 38.2% on the 2010 General Election). Labour's Stephen Doughty succeeded Alun Michael with 9,193 votes, comprising 47.3% of the overall vote. This was an increase of 8.4% on Michael's 2010 performance. Doughty thus became the third MP in the constituency's history.

In this by-election, Conservatives saw their support slide by the identical percentage by which Labour's rose (8.4%) and achieved only 19.9% of the vote (3,859 votes). The Liberal Democrats' support declined by even more than that of their UK Coalition partners (down 11.5%). Plaid Cymru's share of the vote rose to 9.5% (1,854 votes, up 5.4%); however these percentages may mask reality because Plaid Cymru only gained a mere 3 votes more than the total they polled in 2010. Also performing well in percentage terms was UKIP with their support rising by 3.1% (to 6.1% of the total). Greens also increased their share of the vote to 4.1% (a rise of 2.9%). The veteran Communist campaigner Robert Griffiths saw his support rise slightly to a 1.1% share of the vote.

By-election result[edit]

Election Political result Candidate Party Votes % ±%
Cardiff South and Penarth by-election
Resignation of Alun Michael
Turnout: 19,436 (25.4%) −34.8
Labour hold
Majority: 5,334 (27.4%) +16.8
Swing: 8.4% from Con to Lab
Stephen Doughty Labour 9,193 47.3 +8.4
Craig Williams Conservative 3,859 19.9 −8.4
Bablin Molik Liberal Democrat 2,103 10.8 −11.5
Luke Nicholas Plaid Cymru 1,854 9.5 +5.3
Simon Zeigler UKIP 1,179 6.1 +3.5
Anthony Slaughter Green 800 4.1 2.9
Andrew Jordan Socialist Labour 235 1.2 N/A
Robert Griffiths Communist 213 1.1 +0.7

Previous result[edit]

Election Political result Candidate Party Votes % ±%
General election 2010
New boundaries
Turnout: 44,369 (60.2%) +2.0
Labour hold
Majority: 4,709 (10.6%)
Swing: 6.0% from Lab to Con
Alun Michael Labour 17,262 38.9 −7.7
Simon Hoare Conservative 12,553 28.3 +4.4
Dominic Hannigan Liberal Democrat 9,875 22.3 +2.4
Farida Aslam Plaid Cymru 1,851 4.2 −1.1
Simon Zeigler UKIP 1,145 2.6 +1.2
George Burke Independent 648 1.5 N/A
Matthew Townsend Green 554 1.2 −0.6
Clive Bate Christian 285 0.6 N/A
Robert Griffiths Communist 196 0.4 N/A

See also[edit]