The Labour Party has taken a hammering in the Llantrisant Town By-Election, even with the local MP’s wife being parachuted into the role to take on Independent candidate, Freeman Jonathan Bishop, who was expected to take the seat.
The election was won by Louisa Mills, who moved to Llantrisant from Sweden, after being educated in Carmarthen. Louisa Mills promises to build a community garden in the town.
Liz Smith critcised the campaign of Freeman Jonathan Bishop, saying that his facts were “11 years old.” Her husband and Pontypridd MP Owen Smith criticised Bishop for “bringing [his] family into it.” In fact, all Freeman Bishop did was refer to Owen Smith’s wife, who was his opponent.
Freeman Bishop said he fought the election on the facts. “I did not say anything about Owen Smith’s family – his wife was my opponent,” he said. “I used the same strategy against Liz Smith that New Labour used in 1997, 2001 and 2005, which was to make reference to my opponents’ record and past statements.
“If they did not want me to raise these then they shouldn’t have said or done them.
“My campaign was on the whole positive, with me supporting the war memorial plans, and furthering my desire for there to be a Llantrisant festival.
“If my opponents cannot take their record, or lack of, being challenged then they should ask themselves if they are being fair on the electorate who may be far less restrained in their choice of words than I have been.”
Gareth Phillips, of TechArts, who was part of Louisa Mills’s campaign team, also criticised Freeman Bishop’s approach. “[E]ven though Louisa is another candidate she is also a member of the community first and foremost,” he said. “Louisa lives in Llantrisant and went to school in the area.”
Louisa Mills won the election with over 50% of the vote, polling 320 votes. Labour’s Liz Smith gained 273 votes and Independent Jonathan Bishop received 32 votes.