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County Council Candidate admits to having ‘death threat’ for first time

One candidate in the Local Elections 2022 in Carmarthenshire has said that online abuse is assisted by candidates and that he has had a death threat for the first time.

Speaking about recent reports of councillors deciding not to stand because of online abuse Rob James who is standing for Welsh Labour in the Lliedi Ward said: “It is getting bad. In this election I have actually had a death threat for the first time. People are using these platforms to really spread hate. We as candidates have an obligation to carry ourselves not only in an transparent manner but also in a fair and honest manner. Sometimes I feel that candidates are too quick to assist some of these untruths and lies in the hope they get elected and I don’t think that is fair.”

Mr James could lose more than most should the people within his ward decide to place their mark alongside any one of the other party candidates. The Plaid Cymru Leader Emlyn Dole has described himself as a target and  so it seems is  Rob James. The stakes are high and the fighting across Carmarthenshire is getting dirty as we have found having received emails making outrageous allegations against candidates sent from an anonymous source.

Should the worse happen and Mr James loses his seat and his role as leader it could spark an immediate search for a new leader. It could become a cloak and dagger negotiation with those who may have won on another ticket being asked to leap across the floor with the lure of the leadership role or else an immediate upgrade for one of the seasoned Labour councillors. Mr James is hoping that he would have done enough to convince the Labour faithful to return him as a councillor. It is intriguing to say the least to speculate over why it has come to this in wards across the Llanelli area, which have been painted red and which have persistently pointed the finger at the Plaid Cymru administration as favouring Carmarthen over the largest town in the county. Mr James sees it as the Independents being naeieve and playing into the hands of the party they have espoused to oppose so strongly, the case of Llanerch Field being a prime example. 

Speaking about the fight for Llanerch field , which saw plans for a new school scuppered by campaigners who wanted to retain the site as a green space, he said that his opposition candidates in the ward had raised the issue of the field as a campaign that they had won. He pointed out that many  others had been involved too. He said: “I don’t think we should be crowing from the sidelines and celebrating. We still have a job to do. Ysgol Dewi Sant still needs a new school and schools need protecting and investment.”

Speaking about the threat of the Independent group he said: “It is regrettable that individuals that have been long standing members of the Labour party some for many decades have decided to jump ship at the last moment. Frankly they are seeking to hurt Labour’s chances in this election. The only benefactors would be themselves as well as Plaid Cymru. The Independents have been in power with Plaid Cymru for the last seven years and we have seen the results of that. We have seen the many issues that have existed. We are now having to spend an enormous amount of time and effort fighting accusations, lies and untruths about us rather than highlighting the fantastic work that we have done in our communities.”

You can take a horse to water: Voters will select of their own free will

When asked if he believed former Labour councillors would throw their names into the hat for Leader of Carmarthenshire Labour should he lose his seat Mr James said: “The rules are against people jumping backwards and forwards however we have seen a number of these candidates being in a number of groups over the years. What people need to ask themselves is when you are voting independent what exactly are you voting for. You know what you are getting with a Carmarthenshire Labour candidate. There are many failings with this council and we can’t stand idly by whilst tax payer’s money is being wasted.”

Asked about the challenge to an historic voting pattern for Labour he said: “This area was represented by Plaid Cymru. When it comes to local elections it is not a guarantee that as a Labour candidate you will get elected. Neither should it be you really have to earn the votes of local residents and show you are standing up for them. That is why we went out and sought and found around 47 fantastic candidates across Carmarthenshire. They were community activists delivering for the communities and having Labour values. We said, come and join us as a party and together we will be stronger for Carmarthenshire.

Could Llanelli’s wards turn yellow and green or will the Independents cause an upset?

“Some of the Independent candidates that have put themselves forward in this election did seek selection for the Labour party and were unfortunate not to be selected. On some occasions because they had been councillors for a number of decades that they wanted a change of representation. When it comes to candidates we had to ensure we had the best candidates for the Labour party to move forward. Just because you have been a councillor for the last so many years doesn’t mean you should be automatically selected.”

The young candidate who lives in the ward with his family said that Labour had put out an ambitious plan for Carmarthenshire.

You can listen to the full interview here.