Lib Dems praise Labour MS for telling voters to back ‘whichever party you wish’ with second vote
The Liberal Democrats have praised a Labour Senedd Member for telling voters that they can use their second, regional vote for “whichever party you wish to support”.
In a letter to voters, Newport East incumbent John Griffiths, who has represented the seat since 1999, said: “Newport East is a two-horse race between Welsh Labour and the Tories — and a vote for Plaid or the Libs Dems rather than Labour will risk a Tory victory.
“Of course, you also have a second vote for the South East Wales regional list which you may use for whichever party you wish to support.”
Labour have never had a list Senedd Member elected in the South Wales East region because they have always won at least six of the region’s eight constituencies.
The Liberal Democrats claimed that the Labour MS was in effect giving voters permission to vote for a rival party.
“This is the closest Labour have come since the Senedd was created, in admitting that they are highly unlikely to claim any seats on the regional list – which is allocated based on how many votes are received, but with any constituency seats counting against those votes,” they said.
“Labour have not won a single regional seat in any of the South Wales regions since the Senedd was created and regularly receives tens of thousands of votes which never elect anyone. It has taken years for a senior Labour figure to admit that voters could split their vote.”
The Liberal Democrats held one list seat in the South Wales East region between 1999 and 2007 but lost out in the 2011 and 2016 Senedd elections.
The most recent YouGov poll suggests that the seats on the list in the region are most likely to be split between the Conservatives and Plaid Cymru.
Jo Watkins, the lead candidate for the Welsh Liberal Democrats on the South Wales East regional list, said: “It isn’t easy for a politician to admit that they can’t win in an election – I want to thank John for being honest with the electorate.
“In this election, as we saw in the recent debates, the choice on the list vote is between the party that would abolish our Senedd, or the Welsh Liberal Democrats who want to invest in mental health, in our towns and in ending our climate emergency,” she said.
“I would encourage all Labour voters across South Wales East to support us on the list vote, to put recovery first.
“At this election under the electoral system, the centrist Welsh Liberal Democrats can win regional seats and are viewed by many as the best chance of stopping the right-wing abolitionists.”