IN MANY ways it will be a traditional Christmas for Labour’s Chris Ruane.

The former teacher will cook Christmas dinner, as he has always has done, and will lunch with his wife, daughters and family.

The only thing different is he is now without his Vale of Clwyd seat - a seat he has held on and off for 22 years.

The former long serving MP lost his seat at the general election this December to Dr James Davies (Conservative); Dr Davies secured 17,270 votes to Mr Ruane’s 15,443.

Speaking on what the days have been like since the result, Mr Ruane said: “I have been busy.

“I am having to wind up my office which isn’t very pleasant, and putting people out of work. That aspect hasn’t been pleasant at all.

“The polls nationally, it didn’t feel like we were going to win. That said, on the ground and post analysis, the size of the swing in the area wasn’t the same as the national swing. There was 2,000 votes in it. We were within winning distance.

“I have had hundreds of volunteers - we put up a good fight on the knocker, but the message wasn’t resonating with people.

“People were saying, I like you - but not the message.

"I can't vote for you."

Mr Ruane - who has two daughters and is married to Gill, was elected as Vale of Clwyd MP in 1997. He was the first Labour MP to hold the Vale of Clwyd seat.

He lost his seat in 2015 to Dr Davies before reclaiming it in 2017.

On whether he would stand again, Mr Ruane said he would ‘never say never.’

“I have been inspired by politicians Dennis Skinner and Paul Flynn. So professional and in their 80s. I’m so impressed by those who have carried on

“I am going to take stock, but I will never say never.”

Mr Ruane’s route into politics was grassroots activism.

“I come from an ordinary background. I’ve always been close to the people,” he added.

“I am really pleased with my public service and I that did come across on the doorstep.

“I feel a lot of positivity filled with sadness.

“Overall, I feel I have left the constituency in a better state than I found it.”

One of Mr Ruane’s proudest achievements as an MP is securing Objective One European Funding for the area. Funding was used for the Rhyl harbour development which has a hub cafe and cycle bridge.

The politician was also among those who pushed for the £17.5m OpTIC Centre in St Asaph to be constructed, back by European Objective One funding.

He worked with frontman of the Alarm Mike Peters on a stem cell screening programme,

He has stood up for communities on flooding and long campaigned for funding to protect homes and in recent years, challenged the Government to confirm Wales would not be left behind after Brexit.

The Journal remembers Mr Ruane throwing his hat in the ring to be re-selected as the parliamentary candidate in 2017.

Oozing confidence, he said at that time to the Journal ‘the Ruane is back’.

It was a bit of bravado that,” he laughed.

“When Theresa May called the election in 2017, I put my name forward and I was selected through my previous good character

“I never ever expected to be re-elected. We were 25 points behind.

“It was great to be back and I had so much gratitude as well. I was back in parliament with friends and colleagues.”

Mr Ruane plans to get re-engage himself with his passion - wellbeing.

In 2013, he set up free mindfulness classes in Parliament. Since then, more than 150 British Members of Parliament and Peers have received mindfulness training, along with 250 members of their staff.

“In the last 30 to 40 years, people are more lonely than they have ever been,” he added.

“How do we get an economy which has wellbeing at the heart of it?

“With mindfulness, we are making connections around the world.

Denbighshire Free Press:

Chainsaw artist Ian Murray with Vale of Clwyd MP Chris Ruane. SW121018D.

In October 2018, Mr Ruane was a supporter of a new monument for Rhyl, inspired by Michael Morpurgo's novel War Horse and commemorating the service of animals during the first World War.

It was created by fundraiser Richard Kendrick and Dyserth Chainsaw artist Ian Murray.

“That is the direction I think I will go again.

“In terms of the way forward, there is a conference in California in June - Mindfulness and Wellbeing.

“That passion will take me forward.”

In 2014, Mr Ruane, a trustee for the Oxford Mindfulness Centre, and Professor Lord Richard Layard, established the Mindfulness All Party Parliamentary Group (MAPPG), a cross party group dedicated to developing public policy on mindfulness in health, education, criminal justice and the workplace.

Mr Ruane started his journey into mindfulness when he was a school teacher.

Denbighshire Free Press:

Chris Ruane on election night

"We had a nurse and she taught us meditation, using the breath," he said.

"I started to use it with my school at my class.

"12 years ago I was helping my daughter and I came across mindfulness. I started to practice it.

"I feel a better person for it," he said.

Mr Ruane said it has been ‘absolute pleasure’ to serve the constituency as MP.

Denbighshire Free Press:

Chris Ruane with Vaughan Gething on the campaign trail

“My family go back to 1670s. It has been such a great joy, the people here are fantastic,” he said.

“At the end of the day, it is democracy and we are all the better for it,” he said.

"It is a sign that it is strong and long may it live.”

Mr Ruane expressed his thanks to his loyal staff and to past employees, commenting he is ‘indebted to them’.

“I intend to enjoy a family Christmas and the ordinary things in life,” he said.