Tamsin Dunwoody-Kneafsey (as she was then known) was elected to the National Assembly for Wales in 2003 to represent Presceli Pembrokeshire. At last May's election, she was resoundingly defeated by Conservative, Paul Davies, who is making a name for himself speaking on cultural issues. In passing, I should record that if she had retained her seat, I would have retained my regional 'top-up' position as an Assembly Member for Mid and West Wales. Today, she has been selected as the Labour candidate to contest the forthcoming by-election in the Crewe and Nantwich constituency, though under her current name of Tamsin Dunwoody.
Tamsin's mother Gwyneth Dunwoody was a much respected, long serving MP, with a majority of 7,078. There are several reasons why this may not be enough to ensure Tamsin's victory. Firstly, there is the unseemly haste by Labour to hold this by-election, Gwyneth Dunwoody having died on 17th April. I don't know why, but it could be that Labour feels the great respect for the mother will be reflected in support for the daughter. But some Labour MPs are openly expressing their distaste for this tactic - and rightly so. Mrs Dunwoody had not been buried before the Party was openly discussing her replacement. It could backfire very badly indeed. It certainly deserves to. Or of course, Labour could have already written off the seat, and want to get all the bad news out of the way quickly - to clear the ground for a reshuffle based re-launch of the Prime Minister.
Tamsin was a member of the Environment, Planning and Countryside Committee which I chaired during the last Assembly. She was appointed a Deputy Minister by Rhodri Morgan, and given a special responsibility to develop a strategy to tackle Bovine Tb by the Minister with this same responsibility, Carwyn Jones. She did have an independent streak, but nothing like as pronounced as her mother, and I was disappointed by the lack of urgency in bringing forward a Bovine Tb strategy - in stark contrast to her successor, Elin Jones. Perhaps she would have been more decisive had she been the Minister. The By-election is to be held on 22nd May. The Conservative Candidate is Edward Timpson.