Arfon (UK Parliament constituency)

Arfon (UK Parliament constituency)
County constituency
for the House of Commons
Outline map
Boundary of Arfon in Wales for the 2010 general election.
Preserved county Gwynedd
Electorate 41,138 (December 2010)[1]
Major settlements Bangor, Caernarfon
Current constituency
Created 2010 (2010)
Member of Parliament Hywel Williams (Plaid Cymru)
Number of members One
Created from Caernarfon
1885 (1885)1918 (1918)
Replaced by Caernarvonshire
Created from Caernarvonshire
Welsh Assembly North Wales
European Parliament constituency Wales

Arfon is a constituency of the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom (at Westminster). Although the constituency is relatively large by geographical area, it is a predominantly urban rather than rural seat, with the majority of the population living in the two towns on which the constituency is based, Bangor and Caernarfon. "Arfon" is a historical name for the area, meaning "facing Anglesey"; it is also the name of the former district council. This seat was created by the Welsh Boundary Commission in time for the 2010 general election, and replaced the old seat of Caernarfon. The same boundaries were used for the Arfon Welsh Assembly constituency in the 2007 Welsh Assembly election.

It is the smallest mainland constituency in the UK by electorate, and larger only than the two Scottish island constituencies, Na h-Eileanan an Iar and Orkney and Shetland.

The Arfon division of Caernarvonshire was a former UK Parliament constituency, which existed from 1885 until 1918. Before 1885 and after 1918 the area was part of the Caernarvonshire constituency. The Liberal MP William Rathbone represented the Arfon seat until 1895, followed by fellow Liberal William Jones. Upon the death of Mr Jones, Griffith C. Rees, for the Liberal Party, was elected unopposed at the subsequent by-election.

Information in the paragraph above is taken in part from F.W.S Craig's "British Parliamentary Election Results 1885-1918" (Macmillian, 1974).



When first created in 1885, the constituency was defined as the Petty Sessional Divisions of Bangor, Conway and Nant-Conway, with the Parishes of Llanddeinilen and Llanberis (which were within the Carnarvon Petty Sessional Division). The constituency included the boroughs of Bangor and Conway which were part of the Carnarvon District of Boroughs constituency; only those who owned freehold land within the boroughs could vote in elections for the Arfon constituency as a second vote.

The electoral wards which are used to create the twenty-first century Arfon are entirely within the preserved county of Gwynedd. They are Arllechwedd, Bethel, Bontnewydd, Cadnant, Cwm-y-Glo, Deiniol, Deiniolen, Dewi, Garth, Gerlan, Glyder, Groeslon, Hendre, Hirael, Llanberis, Llanllyfni, Llanrug, Llanwnda, Marchog, Menai (Bangor), Menai (Caernarfon), Ogwen, Peblig (Caernarfon), Penisarwaun, Pentir, Penygroes, Seiont, Talysarn, Tregarth and Mynydd Llandygai, Waunfawr and Y Felinheli.

2010 Election

The latest boundary change created a battle ground in Arfon particularly for Labour, Plaid Cymru, and the Conservatives, with the latter being labelled as a ‘resurgent’ party by the Caernarfon Herald.[2] The scale of contention had been reached due to the large shift in boundary changes which in turn has created a need within each party to achieve a relatively unforeseen outcome. Plaid Cymru had previously never represented Bangor, which had been held by Conservative Wyn Roberts for twenty-seven years and a further thirteen under Labour’s Betty Williams. It has however also been more than thirty years since Caernarfon has been represented by anyone other than Plaid Cymru.

Members of Parliament

MPs 1885–1918

Election Member[3] Party
1885 William Rathbone Liberal
1895 William Jones Liberal
1915 Caradoc Rees Liberal
1918 constituency abolished

MPs since 2010

Election Member[3] Party
2010 Hywel Williams Plaid Cymru


Elections in the 2010s

General Election 2010: Arfon[4]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Plaid Cymru Hywel Williams 9,383 36.0 +3.9
Labour Alun Pugh 7,928 30.4 −3.5
Conservative Robin Millar 4,416 16.9 +0.5
Liberal Democrat Sarah Green 3,666 14.1 −1.7
UKIP Elwyn Williams 685 2.6 +0.7
Majority 1,455 5.6 +7.4
Turnout 26,078 63.3 +5.1
Plaid Cymru gain from Labour Swing +3.7

Had the 2005 general election been held under the same boundaries, then this seat would have been held by the Labour Party, with a slim majority of 456 (1.8%) over Plaid Cymru.[5]

See also

Notes and references


  • Boundaries of Parliamentary Constituencies 1885-1972, compiled and edited by F.W.S. Craig (Political Reference Publications 1972)

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