Pl;aid Cymru cemented its hold on the Carmarthen East and Dinefwr seat as party leader Adam Price romped to victory.

He won with 14,427 votes in 2016 and eclipsed that this time round, polling 15,261 votes.

Labour's Rob James was runner-up with 8,448 votes, with Welsh Conservative Havard Hughes third with 7,751.

There were five candidates in the running.

The seat has been won by Plaid since 1999, with incumbent and former MP Mr Price serving since 2016 and, before that, Rhodri Glyn Jones.

In a rousing victory speech, Mr Price said he had never felt as positive as he did now for the future of Wales.

Wales, he said, was on the move and on the march, judging by conversations he had had with voters. There was, he said, a rising self-confidence.

But he also reflected on persistent inequality and poverty.

"The answers won't come from Westminster," said Mr Price.

He claimed there was "corruption, incompetence and elitism" in Westminster.

"We will never be a priority for them."

He added: "There is nothing inevitable about the problems we face as a nation. We have got to take the future into our own hands - that was the positive message at the heart of our campaign.

"My message to 16 and 17-year-olds is, don't give up hope.

"We made progress in this election. Why? Because we made independence the main question."

Before Thursday's election, Carmarthen-born Mr Price said he would focus on getting broadband speeds, better access to housing, better transport links by road and rail, and council tax reform.

The candidates in Carmarthen East and Dinefwr

  • Adam Price (PC) 15,261 (45.89%, -2.60%)
  • Rob James (Lab) 8,448 (25.41%, +6.16%)
  • Havard Hughes (C) 7,751 (23.31%, +8.22%)
  • Monica French (LD) 975 (2.93%, +0.12%)
  • Karl Pollard (Reform) 818 (2.46%)
  • PC maj 6,813 (20.49%)
  • 4.38% swing PC to Lab
  • Electorate 59,016; Turnout 33,253 (56.35%, +2.64%)

The candidates

Monica French - Liberal Democrats

I am married with children. I lived and worked abroad for several years before moving to Carmarthenshire some 30 years ago. Community involvement is what drives me. I have been Chair of a school governing body and Chair of Carmarthenshire NHS Trust as well as helping to save the local Dryslwyn Post Office and shop.

I have set up and run a hospitality business and chaired fitness to practice panels for the Nursing and MIdwifery Council and am currently a member of the Independent Monitoring Board at HMP Swansea.

In my spare time I enjoy walking in our beautiful countryside , tending my garden and , when time permits, reading and trying to improve my Welsh.

What is the most important thing you think the Senedd should do in the next five years?

The most important thing the Senedd should do is to put recovery first, and that is what I will do if elected.

Over half a million people in Wales are waiting for operations and the Welsh NHS needs the resources to tackle this issue which impacts detrimentally on so many people's lives. Wales also needs to fight the climate emergency with a package of investment for a green agenda in order to protect our planet, and at the same time stimulate the economy.

Support businesses both rural and urban to recover and give investment to our high streets to allow them to thrive. In tandem with this investment, Wales needs a fairer business rate system, as the current system is not fit for purpose.

What will you do for your constituency if elected?

I will fight for improved Broadband in our rural areas. Wales seriously lags behind the other nations of the UK. Broadband is an essential service in the 21st century, whether for work, entertainment or day to day living. In Wales a recent survey found that 40% of the population often have problems with their internet and as many as 1 in 6 experience difficulty with every day tasks such as banking.

I would also press the Senedd to financially support the Towy Valley cycle path.

Havard Hughes - Conservatives

I am a Carmarthen-based entrepreneur who runs the trade policy consultancy I founded from west Wales. A Welsh speaker, I attended Ysgol Abergwili and QE Maridunum Comprehensive – before going on to graduate with a degree in Law from Cambridge University. I live with my wife Genevieve on our smallholding just north of Carmarthen.

I previously contested the seat at the 2019 General Election, gaining 14,130 votes, just 297 votes behind the incumbent Plaid Leader’s 2016 Senedd result.

What is the most important thing you think the Senedd should do in the next five years?

Build the Welsh economy by improving our transport and internet links, putting in place the conditions for thriving 21 st century businesses. The UK is going global post-Brexit and Wales needs to make the most of the prospects for free trade across the globe.

What will you do for your constituency if elected?

My priorities for the campaign are:

Rob James - Labour

I was brought up in social housing in Neath and now live in Carmarthenshire with Sophie and our two young children.

I graduated from Swansea University, alongside working in residential and domiciliary care supporting adults with brain injury, learning difficulties and mental health issues. It was my work in the care sector that encouraged me to get involved in politics. Determined to play my part, I self-funded my further studies into an MA in Politics whilst working, to gain a greater insight into how politics can bring about real and lasting change for people in their day-to-day lives.

I was elected first as a County Councillor in Neath in 2012, and I’m currently the youngest Labour leader in Wales, serving as opposition leader on Carmarthenshire Council.

What is the most important thing you think the Senedd should do in the next five years?

We need a tried and tested Welsh Labour Government to see us through this awful coronavirus pandemic, and then to rebuild a stronger, fairer, greener and more prosperous Wales.

As we come out of this crisis, we must build back better, by securing a Green Deal for Wales - securing high quality sustainable jobs in the new industries of the future; encouraging new business start-ups, delivering well paid, quality jobs close to home.

We must deliver enhanced, clean and affordable bus services for the region; environmental improvements to our town centres; and fast, reliable broadband to facilitate home working.

What will you do for your constituency if elected?

Plaid has held this seat in the Senedd for more than 20 years - and has very little to show for it. Adam Price has had plenty of time to deliver for local people, but has failed to do so.

I will work with Welsh Labour colleagues to deliver significant investment for the constituency. I will ensure the Llandeilo bypass and town centre improvements are delivered.