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Matching 2016 result ‘very high watermark’ for Labour in Wales says First Minister

02 May 2021 2 minute read
Mark Drakeford. Picture by CPMR – Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions (CC BY-SA 2.0).

Matching the 2016 Senedd election result of 29 seats would be a very good result for Labour at the election on Thursday, the First Minister has said.

But Welsh Labour leader Mark Drakeford told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge that the party had bounced back after polling earlier in the campaign had shown them on as few as 22 seats.

“We started the campaign with opinion polls telling us that Labour would win only 22 seats. To match our 2016 election result, particularly in the current circumstances, I think would be a very high watermark for us,” he said.

The most recent YouGov poll last week put Wales on 26 seats, with Vale of Glamorgan lost to the Conservatives and Llanelli and Blaenau Gwent to Plaid Cymru- a result that would equal Labour’s worst-ever in a Senedd election. However there has been some evidence of a further Labour polling bounce-back across the UK since then.

‘In the middle’

Mark Drakeford was also asked about post-election coalitions if they do fall short of a majority in the Senedd.

“We’ve always worked across party lines where other progressive parties can agree on a programme for government,” he said. “And that’s always been the way I approach it. I am not interested at all in political fixes.

He added: “If we need to work with other parties, let’s see if we can have a progressive programme for a progressive nation.”

Asked if Welsh Labour was in danger of falling beween two stools iin Wales’ constututional future, he said that most people were pro-devolution but weren’t convinced by independence.

“Well, I think that we belong in the middle because that is where the great bulk of opinion rests in Wales,” he said.

“The Conservative Party in Wales does not believe in Wales; it believes in handing Wales back to Westminster. Plaid Cymru doesn’t believe in the UK; it would sever us from our friends, our relations, our fellow workers elsewhere in the UK.

“It is only the Labour Party that believes in a strong Wales, in a successful UK. And far from falling through the cracks, actually that represents the great bulk of opinion here in Wales.”

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