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Labour candidate blames Drakeford for losing younger voters to Plaid Cymru

05 May 2021 2 minute read
Jenny Rathbone. Picture by Senedd Cymru (CC BY 2.0). Mark Drakeford. Picture by Doubledoppler (CC BY-SA 4.0).

A Labour candidate has blamed Mark Drakeford for losing younger voters to Plaid Cymru.

Jenny Rathbone, who is defending a majority of just 817 votes in Cardiff Central, said the First Minister’s “approach” was “over-cautious” and should be more “radical”.

She told LabourList that while the data for the party in her seat is “OK” for Labour, it has “seen some leakage to Plaid”.

The candidate added that this is particularly the case with younger voters “who think independence is a good idea, without thinking about the impact it will have on their job prospects”.

She said: “The Labour vote is holding up in the main, apart from the sort of leak to Plaid that’s going on.”

This is in an election where 16- and 17-year olds will be able to vote for the first time.

Cardiff Central, which is home to Cardiff University, has a younger population than many other areas in Wales. Only 13% of the constituency’s population is of retirement age while the Welsh average sits at 21%.


Rathbone argued that Labour’s 2019 General Election manifesto lacked a “financial management strategy that was credible” and suggested that Mark Drakeford has “overcompensated” this time around.

She added: “I think Mark’s objective was to ensure that Plaid didn’t appear to be more radical than us, and I don’t think that he’s managed to do it.

“I’m a big fan of his. But I think the manifesto is slightly over-cautious, which I think is why Plaid has been able to nibble away at people who want something more radical.”

Rathbone took aim at the party’s recent ads, which tells Welsh voters ‘if you value it, vote for it’.

She said: “It’s a cautious approach. I would have preferred us to have a slightly more radical approach.”

However, Rathbone insists, Drakeford is a radical at heart: Mark is as radical as Jeremy [Corbyn] is, really, but he’s a much more cautious guy and he doesn’t promise anything he feels he can’t deliver, which I think is the right way to go about it.

“Under-promise and overdeliver, excellent. Overpromise and underdeliver, not politically very sharp.”

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