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2019 General Election in Wales: Final Update

Lara Stace
Lara Stace

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn travelled to Wales this week in the final push before polling on Thursday, visiting Swansea, Barry, Carmarthen, Bangor and Colwyn Bay. He was the last of the major party leaders to do so, and was largely welcomed on the campaign trail. The cult figure was met with cheers and chanting, but also faced some backlash – for example, from Brexit Party supporters who lambasted the Labour leader’s position on Brexit. Visiting marginal seats, Corbyn delivered messages about the potential of a transformative Labour Government and continued to warn against the Conservatives’ austerity measures and treatment of the NHS. Politics aside, he also found time for some self-care.

Labour is under particular pressure in Wales to protect Leave-voting seats from the Conservatives and Brexit Party and maintain its historical dominance in the country. The final poll before election day suggests Labour will lose eight seats to the Conservatives in Wales, including Alyn and Deeside, Bridgend and Wrexham. Although the polling still puts Labour with the most seats in Wales, the Conservatives are uncomfortably near (37% vs. 40%) and if the results were reproduced on Thursday it would be Labour’s worst performance in Wales since World War Two. Wales is a key area if the Conservatives wish to claim a majority in Parliament, as the SNP looks set to build on its strong presence in Scotland, and Wales’ Leave vote means it is vulnerable to attack from the Conservatives’ ‘Get Brexit Done’ slogan.

Amid accusations that Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s repeated ‘Get Brexit Done’ mantra is misleading, former Monmouth MP David T. C. Davies has said that a no-deal Brexit after the transition period proposed in Johnson’s deal remains a “possibility”. This, paired with Leave’s promises of a ‘better deal’ during the 2016 referendum campaign and the party’s opposition to a second referendum, raises questions about the public desire for such a situation – the Brexit Party has also driven a shift towards a ‘clean break’ Brexit and the election result will be read as a proxy vote for such a hard exit by those wishing to pursue it. However, divided support for a no-deal Brexit in late summer and greater support for the Conservatives among no-deal supporters makes such a conclusion unsurprising.

The public will go to the polls tomorrow, but the real excitement will begin on Friday as the political fallout takes hold. The Conservative Party has played on fears that another hung Parliament will result in further delay to Brexit and inaction, in the hope it will swing the vote their way. However, amid the suggestion that the party can hope for a close win at best, there may be much jostling and negotiation come Friday morning to secure a Government.

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

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