Welsh barometer: The Battle for Ynys Môn

Is the picturesque seat of Anglesey a microcosm of how Welsh politics is changing this election?

It is rare these days to find parliamentary seats that are genuine three way contests. The Welsh seat of Ynys Môn or Anglesey as it is better known is one such seat.

In 2015, the result could not have been closer.  Labour’s Albert Owen retained the seat in Parliament with 10,871 votes, just 229 ahead of Plaid Cymru. The Conservatives meanwhile were third on 7,393.

Historically, it has always been a Plaid heartland. Between 1987 and 2001, it was held by Ieuan Wyn Jones, who served the constituency also in the Welsh Assembly between 1999 and 2013. It is served now at Cardiff Bay by Plaid Cymru’s Rhun ap Iorwerth, a former political correspondent BBC Wales.

This time around, Plaid will have high hopes of retaking the seat thanks to Wyn Jones, himself a Deputy First Minister in the Welsh Government, deciding to return to front line politics to regain the his former seat in the House of Commons.

Despite this however, it could end up being the Conservatives that come out on top in the seat, something pointed to in the most recent polling in Wales out earlier this week.

Why? Well, Brexit has a lot to do with it. Despite the constituency containing the port of Holyhead providing ferry routes to Ireland and as such likely to feel Brexit more than many other areas, in the referendum last year, the constituency voted very narrowly in favour of leaving the EU.

All will depend then on where the just-over 5,000 votes that went to UKIP in 2015 end up this time around.

Whilst UKIP is fielding a candidate this time around, if the mood across the rest of the country is felt in Wales on election day, the Conservative candidate, Tomos Davies, himself a former Special Adviser at the Wales Office, will be quietly confident about the prospects of adding the letters “M” and “P” to the end of this name.

Davies’ chances though may depend on the Conservatives in Wales getting some better voter ID since Labour’s First Minister in Wales, Carwyn Jones, has tweeted a letter sent from Theresa May to target votes which he has received asking him to give her his backing.  As Jones himself tweeted: “Not sure the Tories’ voter ID is that efficient!”

Whatever the case – this three-way race is one to watch.

Ed Jacobs is a Contributing Editor for Left Foot Forward

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