For the first time since the 1850s, the Tories may take the majority of seats in Wales

Wales may be on the brink of a 'truly seismic' electoral shift


Labour is on course to lose 10 seats to the Conservatives in Wales in the forthcoming General Election.

That is the sobering finding of the latest Welsh Political Barometer conducted by YouGov for ITV-Cymru Wales and Cardiff University’s Wales Governance Centre.

The results put the parties (with changes since the last barometer in brackets) on the following:

Conservatives: 40 per cent (+12)

Labour: 30 per cent (-3)

Plaid Cymru: 13 per cent (no change)

Liberal Democrats: 8 per cent (-1)

UKIP: 6 per cent (-7)

Others: 3 per cent (-1)

Assuming uniform national swings from the 2015 general election, these figures would have the following results (with changes in seats in brackets since the 2015 election):

Conservatives: 21 seats (+10)

Labour: 15 seats (-10)

Plaid Cymru: 3 seats (no change)

Liberal Democrats: 1 seat (no change)

Under this scenario, Plaid Cymru and the Liberal Democrats would hold the seats they currently have but make no gains. The seats that would change from Labour to Conservative control are: Alyn and Deeside, Bridgend, Cardiff South and Penarth, Cardiff West, Clwyd South, Delyn, Newport East, Newport West, Wrexham, and Ynys Mon.

Professor Roger Scully from the Governance Centre in Cardiff has written of the results that ‘only one poll this century (in July 2009, at the very nadir of Gordon Brown’s fortunes as Prime Minister) has had Labour lower in Wales.’ He continued by noting that he can find ‘no precedent in any poll this century either for the Conservatives to be on forty percent in Wales or for them to have a ten percentage point lead over Labour in general election voting intentions.’

Scully goes on to explain that ‘the huge leap in the Tory rating since our last poll has come mostly at the expense of UKIP.’

He continues:

“Were any such result to be produced on 8 June this would obviously be a big shift from the 2015 result in Wales. But it would also be a result of long-term historic significance. The Conservatives have not won a majority of Welsh seats at a general election since the 1850s – before the era of mass democracy.

Labour have won the most votes and the most seats in Wales at every general election from 1922 onwards; and have won an absolute majority of Welsh seats in the last twenty successive general elections (from 1935 on). For the Conservatives potentially to be in a position not merely to finish ahead of Labour but even to win over half the seats in Wales indicates that we are on the brink of something truly seismic.

And Labour seem to be facing a defeat of historic magnitude: even in the disastrous 1983 election under Michael Foot, things were never this bad.”

Ed Jacobs is a contributing editor at Left Foot Forward

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