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Wales Online
Wales Online
Richard Youle

The election row that's erupted over a surname

A candidate in next month's council elections has claimed a rival has used his middle name as a surname to put himself at the top of the ballot paper. Matthew Bailey, who is standing as an Independent in Clydach, is one of six candidates vying for three councillor positions to represent the ward on Swansea Council.

He would have been top of the ballot paper, which is listed alphabetically by surname, but he is now below Labour candidate Wez Alexander Morgan, who is there because his surname is considered to be 'Alexander Morgan' and, as it starts with the letter 'A' would come before Bailey. Mr Bailey claims Mr Morgan has gained an advantage by doing so, because some evidence suggested that voters tend to favour candidates higher up the ballot paper in elections. You can read more stories about Swansea here.

Mr Morgan said Alexander was a name given to him by his parents and was perfectly appropriate to use. Mr Bailey has checked his rival's birth certificate, which he said showed Alexander as being a middle name, and Companies House, where Wezley Morgan is shown as a director of a Swansea company called Starki Ltd. The Labour candidate's Facebook and Twitter accounts are both in the name of Wez Morgan. You can get more Swansea news and other story updates by subscribing to our newsletters here.

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Mr Bailey said: "Candidates can use a more commonly used surname if this is what they are better known as by the electorate. However, Wezley is not known as having this surname (Alexander Morgan). All election flyers and other material says he is Wezley Morgan."

The Local Democracy Reporting Service contacted Swansea Labour about the use of the ballot paper name Wez Alexander Morgan and in response, Mr Morgan said: "This is my name, something which was given to me by my parents and it’s perfectly appropriate to use on my ballot paper."

Swansea Labour leader Rob Stewart said the naming practice was adopted by other candidates - and he again queried Mr Bailey's Independent affiliation, given his recent switch from the Conservatives. That related to a row last month about an election leaflet.

Mr Bailey confirmed his switch from the Tories on social media in March. He said the rise in National Insurance rates and the get-togethers in Westminster during the Covid pandemic had prompted him to have a change of heart.

The other councillors standing in Clydach at the elections on May 5 are Susan Powell and Dylan Williams, both Labour, Independent Gordon Walker and, for the Conservatives, Brigitte Rowlands. Clydach will have three councillors for the next five years instead of the current two, following a review of ward boundaries in Swansea by the Local Democracy and Boundary Commission for Wales.

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