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Gwynoro Jones and Alun Gibbard

Only Three Votes

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  • £12

This book will be released in September 2024.

Pre-orders are charged at time of order and the book will be posted to you as soon as it becomes available.

UK postage is 99 pence per order.


“These were events which prefigured and did much to shape the political battles of the last half century, the devolution half century in Wales. They shaped the non-nationalist, but distinctive Welsh social democratic preferences of the last sixty years. For anyone interested in the formative moments of today’s Wales, this is both essential and highly entertaining reading.” – Mark Drakeford, First Minister of Wales 2018-2024


It was a period of Welsh politics that has become etched in the collective memory. The rise of a Welsh independence movement and the first Plaid Cymru Member of Parliament. The Labour Party searching for a way forward in a political climate that was riven with dissension and eventual rancour. It was a fight for social democracy against the centralised power of the British state.

The first battlefield was Carmarthen and the protagonists were Gwynfor Evans, the leader of Plaid Cymru and the young Labour hopeful Gwynoro Jones. Their rivalry lasted throughout the Seventies. They fought three elections and on one occasion the result was decided by just three votes.

This book tells the story of a political rivalry which was also very personal. It was a local confrontation that drew on national battlelines. It was about Carmarthen and Wales. Both men had their vision of the Wales they wanted to fight for. These pages unfold the story from Gwynoro Jones’ perspective for the first time, in an attempt to redress the imbalance of Gwynfor Evans' story dominating the narrative for so long.

Drawing on an extensive archive, collected at the time, Gwynoro shows how the two fought their politics in the newspapers of the day and through speeches on constituency public platforms, where they argue about the Welsh language and devolution, Europe and agriculture. But they only ever actually met once. Gwynoro also reflects on how he views those turbulent years today.

Through their wranglings, a picture is also painted of Welsh politics in the decade that led up to the referendum on devolution in 1979, as Plaid and Labour searched for a way forward. And ultimately, a generation later, to the creation of a parliament for Wales.


Gwynoro Jones was twenty-seven years old when he was elected as the Labour MP for Carmarthen in 1970. It was the first of three elections he contested against Plaid Cymru leader Gwynfor Evans in the west Wales seat that became a touchstone for both nationalist and socialist ambitions for a new Wales. He was the first elected politician to address the European assembly (Council of Europe) through the Welsh language. A long political career of activism in favour of social democracy continues with his engagement initially in the early years of Yes Cymru but latterly with the efforts for greater Welsh sovereignty.

Alun Gibbard is an award winning writer with over forty books to his name. Two of his books have been short-listed for the British Sports Book Awards. His work is mainly non-fiction, with a strong social history narrative. Only Three Votes, is his third collaboration with Gwynoro Jones, on Welsh political history. He also co-wrote the life-story of former First Minister Carwyn Jones. Prior to being an author, he worked in broadcasting, starting his career with BBC Wales News.