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2019 General Election in Wales: Update 2

Lara Stace
Lara Stace

The deadline to register to vote has passed. There was a significant push, due to the nature of a snap election, to ensure people did not put off registering to vote until it was too late – even Facebook introduced a link to both register yourself, and encourage your ‘friends’ to do so. Now the deadline has passed, attention has turned to tactical voting, for example with Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage urging voters in Wales to support their Brexit Party candidate if they want to see Leave-supporting MPs in Westminster. The General Election will undoubtedly be viewed as a test for support for either Brexit, another referendum, or Remain, and conversely the Remain Alliance will attempt to swing the Leave-Remain balance their way. The heat of the election is beginning to bite, and manifesto promises and party credibility is coming under the microscope.

During his visit to Wales to launch the Welsh Conservatives manifesto last week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson claimed that farmers would be able to access EU markets with no fees or quotas. However, this has since come under question, with NFU Cymru President John Davies saying that farmers cannot have certainty until the trade negotiations have concluded – with Johnson’s claims relying on a political declaration on future relations beyond a transition period, which is not legally binding. The manifesto also commits to improve cross-border infrastructure with a Marches Growth Deal and deliver a new M4 Relief Road – it’s been suggested that the party has focused its policies on seats that it believes it can win, and there is also a question about how it would deliver the relief road when trunk roads are devolved to Wales.

Plaid Cymru have also made promises they may not be able to keep, as many of the issues either rely on the party gaining a majority in the next Assembly election – for example, electrifying Wales’ main rail lines by 2030 – or devolving the issue – such as its early commitment to an extra 1,600 police officers for Wales. It has, however, built strongly on the stance that the party would hold a second referendum on EU membership and campaign for Remain. The Welsh Liberal Democrats have also positioned themselves as a Remain party, and party leader Jane Dodds has not shied away from pressing this – most recently in the BBC Wales Live Election debate.

The Labour manifesto has committed to building the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon, which was scrapped by the Conservative Party last summer to considerable opposition from Welsh Assembly Members, the renewable energy industry and environmental groups. However, despite significant spending promises for England and Scotland, Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price has accused labour of being “silent” on its spending plans for Wales. Labour has, as ever, had to work to ensure its campaign can be heard over criticism of its response to anti-Semitism. During last night’s BBC Wales Live debate, Labour’s Nia Griffith said that the party should apologise to the Jewish community – although she did not name Jeremy Corbyn himself. Labour AM Alun Davies has also said that people expressing concerns about anti-Semitism should not be ignored, and claims should not be dismissed as a smear or Tory campaign against the party.

You can find out more about the parties’ key policies and promises on our maniffesto page and in a news piece by Deryn’s own Elin Llyr.

Finally, with just over a week until the big day, the second Welsh opinion poll from Professor Roger Awan-Scully has arrived. Labour has seen a rise in support since the last poll, conducted in early November, although the Conservative Party also saw a slight increase and sits uncomfortably close (38% and 32% each, respectively). Plaid Cymru has seen a minor reduction in voter intention support, to 11%, as has the Liberal Democrats, at 9%. The Brexit Party has also seen a slump in support, but this may be as voters are drawn to the main two parties and Leave-supporting voters move to the Conservative Party in a bid to see Brexit through.

For a bird's eye view.
Am olwg oddi uchod.

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