Labour bullish on election despite polls, Senedd Member says
Labour are bullish about their election prospects despite polls showing they could lose as many as seven seats to the Conservatives and Plaid Cymru, a Labour Senedd Member has said.
Pontypridd’s Mick Antoniw said that he could see Labour keeping all of their present seats as well as winning the Rhondda from Plaid Cymru.
He described a YouGov poll on 22nd March which predicted Welsh Labour’s worst result of the devolution as “rogue”.
“It’s far too early to predict what the outcome is,” Mick Antoniw told LabourList. “It may well be that there is not a great deal of change in terms of the number of Labour seats.
“Labour has been in a much worse position prior to an election on the polls,” he added. “My guess is Labour will probably have the same number of seats.”
He identified the Rhondda, the seat of former Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood who won it in 2016 with a surprise 22.2% swing, as a key target for Labour.
“We may well regain Rhondda,” he said, describing it as a “real possibility”.
LabourList goes on to say that the likelihood of Labour returning to power is good, because Plaid Cymru is unlikely to go into coalition with the Conservatives.
“The most likely engagement is between Labour and Plaid,” Mick Antoniw says. ““It is more difficult now for Plaid to even talk about an arrangement with the Conservatives because of their more hostile approach to devolution.”
Mick Antoniw’s comments seemed to run contrary to the First Minister Mark Drakeford, who told Andrew Marr on Sunday that the election would be a “challenging” one for Labour.
Speaking on the Andrew Marr show he said that he did not expect a “drubbing” but that the pandemic and over 20 years in government would take their toll.
“The polls suggest that Labour is going to face its worst ever performance at a Senedd election,” Andrew Marr said. “Why do you think that drubbing might be about to happen?”
Mae Drakeford conceded that it could be a difficult election for them to fight.
“I don’t think that drubbing is about to happen,” he said. “I’m not prepared to start from that premise.
“But I do think that this is a challenging election for the Labour party in Wales, of course. Fighting it during a pandemic, fighting it at a time when we’ve been in office here for the whole of the period of devolution.
“But this will be an election in Wales about trust and about ambition. Who do people in Wales trust to complete the job of keeping Wales safe?
“The party that has the genuine ambition to lead Wales not simply out of coronavirus but into the sort of future people in Wales want.
“My job, the job of Labour candidates and Labour activists throughout Wales, will be to have those conversations – to persuade people once again that it is the Labour party here that is closest to their hopes for the future, and the party they should trust again to be in government here in Wales.”