So, we’re having a General Election – what does this mean for Wales?

Jeremy Corbyn. Picture by YouTube/RevolutionBahrainMC (CC BY 3.0)

Ifan Morgan Jones

The Labour Party have today announced that they are backing an early General Election, which is expected to happen in the first half of December.

So, what does this mean for Wales? Well if the polls are to believed it could mean the first Conservative victory in Wales since passage of the Reform Act 1867 which enfranchised most male householders.

The latest Welsh Barometer Poll had the Conservatives on 29% to Labour’s 25%, and just short of Labour’s 18 seats on 17 seats.

Everything therefore currently points to a dominant Conservative performance at the General Election.

However, the polls are extremely volatile. The Conservatives lead in the polls by 41% to 35% in Wales in the run up to the announcement of the 2017 General Election, but Labour ended up getting 48.9% of the vote to their 33.6%.

I would suspect that Labour won’t see quite as big a rise this time as Jeremy Corbyn is more of a known quantity and is historically unpopular.

But an awful lot could depend on whether Labour are able to win back Remain supporters which have moved to Plaid Cymru and the Liberal Democrats and whether Boris Johnson will be able to do the same with Leavers who are currently backing the Brexit Party.

I would expect to see the polls shift significantly between now and election day, but in whose favour that happens will matter an awful lot of the success of the different campaigns in getting their message across.

 

Seats

So, what are the seats to keep an eye on in Wales?

Plaid Cymru have two jobs to do – win Ynys Môn where current Labour MP Albert Owen is standing down, and defend Ceredigion from the Liberal Democrats.

The second is a massive task given that the Lib Dems were polling in single figures when Plaid Cymru MP Ben Lake took the seat by 104 votes in 2017.

For the election night to be considered a decent one, therefore, new Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price probably really, really needs to win Ynys Môn.

He should also fear a rear-guard action by Labour in the seat of Arfon, which was retained by Plaid Cymru by only 92 votes in 2017.

If Labour hope to make gains in Wales rather than just defend what they have, they will invest in Preseli Pembrokeshire and Aberconwy, which are held by under a 1,000 votes each. The Secretary of State for Wales, Alun Cairns, could also be in danger in the Vale of Glamorgan with a 2,190 majority.

The Conservatives will be targeting the Vale of Clwyd, Gower (which they held before 2017), and Cardiff North. On a historically good night they could also capture Alyn and Deeside, Bridgend, Clwyd South, Delyn, Newport West, and Wrexham.

As already mentioned, Ceredigion with its 104 vote majority will be Liberal Democrat target seat number one.

Keeping the newly won Brecon and Radnorshire will be the next big aim, as well as perhaps challenging for neighbouring Montgomeryshire.

What complicates a few of these seats further is that it’s difficult to judge whether people will vote on party lines or on Brexit lines.

Is it reasonable to expect the Conservatives to take Cardiff North when the city is so pro-Remain?

Will seats open up elsewhere in Wales that weren’t likely prospects, but could be because of the shift in allegiance that has come with the political polarisation as a result of Brexit?

Will some parties announce a pact in order to make them more competitive in certain seats? There was some talk a few months ago of a Plaid Cymru / Liberal Democrat / Green pact, in particular.

The one certainty is that this will be perhaps the least predictable General Election in many of our lifetimes. It’s all to play for.

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Robert Llewellyn Tyler
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Robert Llewellyn Tyler

Term time could doom Plaid in Ceredigion and perhaps Arfon.

pete
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pete

Hopefully Plaid will lose Cardigan, Be pipped in Anglesey and with a bit of luck Caernarvon. Welsh speakers in Merioneth would elect a lampost if was standing for Plaid.

David Roberts
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David Roberts

Hi Jacques! !

KK
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KK

Hello Pete. Are you still bitter? Are you still living in Aberystwyth? I only ask as that would make it nearly 30 years in Wales now but still resplendent with bitterness and hatred I can see. By the way you can’t spell properly.

pete
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pete

You forgot the other K

KK
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KK

Rattled. And exposed. I don’t think I’m wrong in saying I know who you are. Gotta love an apologist.

Huw Davies
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Huw Davies

Pete please give up the online self-abuse. You may think you are abusing others but seriously mate you do yourself down.

pete
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pete

Lets see how well welsh seperatism does on December 12th

Joe
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Joe

The libs shouldn’t be wasting their time in Ceredigion , they’ll have to go a long way to find a local politician as hard working and respected as Ben Lake and he’ll have the young people’s vote.Jog on Swinson!

David Roberts
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David Roberts

Maybe so, but it’s only recently Plaid were telling us to go & vote for the Unionist Lib Dems! They have played a part in the Lib Dem resurgence, who are now seen as the main Remain party across the UK, and most Welsh people getting their news from UK sources, Plaid’s vote will be squeezed.

Ernie The Smallholder
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Ernie The Smallholder

I agree.
To promote liberal policies they must win the anglo seats of Monmouth (a EU remain seat) and Montgomeryshire.
Plaid Cymru shares so much politically with the LibDems. This is all about remaining in the EU so that the Welsh economy prospers.
Bring on the plaid Cymru/Lib Dems/Greens pact for the UK parliamentary election.

We need to concentrate on winning in our own Welsh GE at the Senedd to claim independence.

jr humphrys
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jr humphrys

It’s like being a Palestinian on the West Bank.

Huw Davies
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Huw Davies

Lots of people will lose their shirts this time. Swing to Tories may prove illusory as a lot of Leave inclined voters will tilt towards their leave inclined Labour candidate if he/she has “form” in that direction, or will vote for a Brexit Party candidate as a means of keeping Boris on the “straight and narrow” or whatever slogan Farage puts on it. You rightly comment that Cardiff North could be tough for the Tory party given the mess they have made of the Brexit project over last 3 years. Seeing Cairns getting wiped out in the Vale would be… Read more »

jr humphrys
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jr humphrys

An ex cabinet minister recently said the new Tories “could not give a s**t for the Union” ( his words ).
They believe , that without a Union, England will return Tory governments for decades to come, and
it’s just a matter of a few years that a united Ireland and independent Scotland will happen anyway.
Of course, this leaves us in Cymru having to fight for our existence, but fight we must.

Huw Davies
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Huw Davies

JRH – Assimilation beckons. Just read the article elsewhere on this site, Plaid doing deals with Unionist LibDems and those Greens who also have an “Englandandwales” mindset. Lazy but also self destructive. Now is the time to tell the electorate about the shallow mess that is Westminster politics and work towards secession from this rotten Union.