POLITICS

Tories To Replace Labour As Biggest Party In Wales - Shock ITV Wales/YouGov poll

Numbers like this not seen since 1859.

24/04/2017 16:36 | Updated 25 April 2017
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Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour are set to be toppled by the Tories as the biggest party in Wales, according to a shock new poll.

The ITV Wales/YouGov survey puts the Conservatives on 40% to Labour’s 30%, a finding that would make Theresa May’s party the dominant force in the country for the first time in nearly 150 years.

Plaid Cymru are unchanged on 13%, but UKIP’s vote has collapsed from 13% to 6% since January.

Labour are down three points, but the Tories have soared by 12 points and appear to have picked up all the UKIP supporters, many of whom were previous Labour loyalists.

Their surprise 10-point lead points to Labour MPs’ worst fears that the ‘Corbyn effect’ is combining with May’s growing popularity to radically slash the party’s support.

The Prime Minister, who heads to Wales on Tuesday after chairing her ‘Political Cabinet’ in No.10, used an article in a Welsh newspaper to warn that alliances between Plaid and Labour in the Welsh national assembly could provide a blueprint for similar coalitions in the rest of the UK.

She said that the Brexit referendum “should have been a wake-up call for a generation of politicians who have taken the people for granted for too long” in Wales.

ITVWales

Just as the party was nearly wiped out by the SNP in Scotland, the survey suggests it is going backwards in a previously solid heartland.

The poll figures suggest that the Tories would win 21 seats and Labour just 15. Plaid Cymru would win three seats and the Liberal Democrats one.

If repeated, the results would mean that for the first time since 1918 Labour had not won the most votes, or seats, in an election in Wales.

They have won a majority of Welsh seats at every general election since 1935 on and the most votes at every election from 1922 on. 

But the last time the Tories had a majority of votes in a Welsh general election was in 1859 - before most of the public had been granted the vote and before Labour was even founded.

The following seats would go from Labour to Tory: Bridgend, Wrexham, Clwyd South, Delyn, Alyn & Deeside, Newport West, Ynys Mon, Newport East, Cardiff West, Cardiff South & Penarth.

Analysts claim that the main reason for the Tory rise is the collapse of the UKIP vote, with 62% of 2015 UKIP voters now saying they will move to the Conservatives.

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Theresa May

Only 2% of UKIP 2015 voters say they’ll switch to Labour. The seven-point fall in UKIP vote is in line with YouGov’s wider national figures.

But the difference is less significant in the Welsh Assembly, where the UKIP or Labour vote hasn’t fallen as much.

Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones can take solace in the fact that his personal poll ratings have increased slightly, but not as much as May’s, who is more popular than any of the other leaders.

In a statement, Jones all but accepted the poll findings and said Corbyn needed to “prove himself” to voters.

“I’ve been on the campaign trail in four constituencies today alone, where the response to Welsh Labour’s message has been extremely positive,” he said.

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Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones

“Though while there is strong support on the doorstep, we are under no illusion that Labour has a mountain to climb in this election. 

“We know Jeremy needs to prove himself to the electorate here in Wales, just as we know the political weather is tough going, a fact underlined by the polling numbers released today.”

Corbyn was in Cardiff on Friday to launch his party’s Welsh general election campaign, praising the Labour-run Welsh Assembly for its leadership on issues such as free school meals and the NHS.

The Labour leader defeated Welsh MP Owen Smith in his second party leadership landslide in 2016, attracting big crowds of supporters for his campaign.

But few Welsh Labour MPs backed him, many fearing the Tory surge of the 2015 general election - and the fact Wales voted for ‘Leave’ in the 2016 EU referendum - was an ominous warning of the dangers posed by votes lost to UKIP.

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