Andrew RT Davies claims ‘other parties went backwards’ despite heavy local election losses for Tories
Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies has defended his party’s results in last week’s local elections and says despite a bruising campaign for the Tories, ‘other parties went backwards’.
The Conservatives lost almost half their councillors in Wales following Thursday’s vote, dropping 86 wards to 111 and also lost control of Monmouthshire, the only council they held in the country without the help of independents.
Including the results in England and Scotland, they suffered a net loss of 12 authorities and 401 councillors following the vote.
Mr Davies remained upbeat despite the setbacks however, and praised the calibre of candidates that were elected across Wales.
“Things might not have gone our way in some areas of Wales, but lots of fantastic Welsh Conservative candidates have been elected to authorities up and down the country.
“I have no doubt that they will now hit the ground running and work tirelessly for their communities, delivering on their pledges,” he said.
“Let’s not forget that Welsh Conservatives fielded the highest number of candidates ever and increased the number of candidates at these elections whilst other parties went backwards.
“We have a strong Welsh Conservative brand, but we went into these elections with a difficult national picture, and it appears that has had an impact.
“We have to build on that strong Welsh Conservative brand in the coming months.
“A huge thank you must go to every single person who turned out to vote for the Welsh Conservatives, all of our candidates and our fantastic volunteers who have been working tirelessly over the last few months.”
Turn things around
Speaking at the weekend the outgoing Conservative leader of Monmouthshire council said the party was not currently in a position “to win the next general election”.
Richard John told BBC Politics Wales “I don’t think the party is in a position right now where it’s poised to win the next general election.”
“I really do think the party needs to move with urgency to consider how we can make sure we’re in the best place possible to win the next general election.
“We are not going to do it by appealing to the right, we’ve got to move to the centre ground.
“That compassionate agenda about appealing to families – what we’re going to do to show that we’re in touch and demonstrate that we understand the challenges that people are facing – I don’t think the government is quite in that place right now.”
After Labour triumphed in Cardiff, winning a third term in power, Cllr Adrian Robson, leader of the Conservative group also called for change and said MPs need to decide whether to keep Boris Johnson on as Prime Minister or face more election losses.
“Conservative votes are splitting all over the place. I think the MPs in Westminster need to make a decision and decide what that decision is. It’s not up to me to say who the Prime Minister should be,” he said.
“It’s for the MPs to get together and say right, we’re going to back the current prime minister and come up with a strategy for how we’re going to win the general election, how we’re going to win the Senedd election, and how we’re going to win local elections in Wales.
“If they decide they can’t do that, then they need to make the change but we can’t have another two years of what we’ve had because that’ll just mean we’ll lose the general election and continue to haemorrhage councillors.”
An editorial in the Telegraph newspaper at the weekend said the local elections in Wales were “catastrophic” for the Conservatives and leaves them in a “nightmare” position heading into a General Election.
“Wales voted Leave, and underwent a partial Tory renaissance that has now gone into reverse,” they said. “The Welsh Tories lost their only council and nearly half their seats.
“They’d also been establishing themselves as the best Unionist alternative to the SNP in Scotland, yet they fell back to third place.”
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