Written by Andy Hughes
With the General Election just over two weeks away there is much anticipation and speculation about how the Welsh electoral landscape will look on June 9th.
Speculation about the results of the General Election in Wales was further fuelled by the results of the first Welsh Political Barometer Poll, published in late April, which showed the Welsh Conservatives leading Welsh Labour by 40% to 30% among intending voters. This historic result would have seen the Welsh Conservatives win a majority of seats in Wales for the first time in almost 100 years.
However, at the publication of the most recent Political Barometer Poll results, Welsh Labour had overhauled the Conservative lead and now sat on 44%, compared to the Conservatives’ 34%. Disappointingly for Plaid Cymru, the Party of Wales appears to have made little headway in the polls, and sat in third place on 9% behind Labour and the Conservatives.
Yet, as has been proven time and time again in elections across the UK recently, it is clear that poll results can only tell part of the story when it comes to the outcome on election day. The five constituencies below represent key constituencies or ‘Ones to Watch’ on election night, where the result could reflect a successful night for the Prime Minister Theresa May and her Conservative party or represent a strong showing from the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn.
‘Ones to Watch’
Incumbent MP: Madeleine Moon MP (Lab)
Candidates: Madeleine Moon, Labour; Karen Robson, Conservative; Alun Williams, UKIP; Rhys Watkins, Plaid Cymru; Jonathan Pratt, Lib Dem; Isabel Robson, Independent.
Constituency Summary: The Conservatives will be targeting Bridgend as a winnable seat on election night, especially given the relatively slim majority of incumbent Madeleine Moon and after the party picked up ten new Councillors at a local level earlier this month. The constituency, which is held by First Minister Carwyn Jones at the Welsh Assembly, has already been visited by Prime Minister Theresa May earlier on in the campaign – showing just how winnable the party feels the seat to be in June.
Remarkable Prediction: The Conservatives to win in the First Minister’s seat and return a Conservative MP to Westminster.
Incumbent MP: Jo Stevens MP (Lab)
Candidates: Jo Stevens, Labour; Eluned Parrott, Lib Dem; Gregory Stafford, Conservative; Mohammed Sarul Islam, UKIP; Mark Jonathan Hooper, Plaid Cymru; Benjamin Smith, Green Party.
Constituency Summary: Popular local MP Jo Stevens has a solid majority of almost 5,000. However, the Liberal Democrats, with former Assembly Member Eluned Parrott, will be looking to take back the seat which the party lost to Labour in 2015. The latest odds for the Cardiff Central constituency place Labour and the Lib Dems neck and neck on 10/11, indicating that Jo Stevens certainly has a fight on her hands if she wants to be returned to Westminster after June 8th.
Remarkable Prediction: Cardiff Central to remain red. Jo Stevens will be returned to Westminster.
Incumbent MP: Byron Davies MP (Con)
Candidates: Byron Davies, Conservative; Tonia Antoniazzi, Labour; Ross Ford, UKIP; Harri Roberts, Plaid Cymru; Howard Evans, Lib Dem; Jason Winstanley, Pirate Party.
Constituency Summary: Arguably the shock result of election night in May 2015, former Assembly Member Byron Davies will be defending the smallest Parliamentary majority in the UK. Labour was able to retain the seat at last year’s Assembly election and will hope to mobilise its supporters in Gower in order to win back the seat which it had held for nearly 100 years prior to Mr Davies’ victory. A victory in Gower and holding off challenges in other key seats would represent a good night for Labour in Wales.
Remarkable Prediction: Too close to call.
Incumbent MP: Jessica Morden MP (Lab)
Candidates: Jessica Morden, Labour; Natasha Asghar, Conservative; Ian Gorman, UKIP; Pete Brown, Lib Dem; Cameron Wixcey, Plaid Cymru; Nadeem Ahmed, Independent.
Constituency Summary: Defending a majority of 4,705, Jessica Morden will be hopeful of returning to Westminster to represent the Newport East constituency after June 8th. However, the Conservative party have been steadily building their support within the constituency, and increased their share of the vote by nearly 5% at the last election. In order to win on election day the Conservatives will need to take a significant proportion of the 6,466 votes UKIP received at the election in 2015 as well as winning over Labour votes.
Remarkable Prediction: Jessica Morden will continue to represent the people of Newport East after the 8th of June, but will be returned with a reduced majority.
Incumbent MP: Paul Flynn MP (Lab)
Candidates: Paul Flynn, Labour; Angela Jones-Evans, Conservative; Stan Edwards, UKIP; Morgan Bowler-Brown, Plaid Cymru, Sarah Lockyer, Lib Dem; Pippa Bartolotti, Green Party.
Constituency Summary: Election night may be difficult for long standing MP Paul Flynn, as he looks to hold off another challenge from the Conservative party just as in 2010 and in 2015. The Conservatives will again look to take this seat from Labour on election night, and if Angela Jones-Evans is able to build on the 13,123 votes her party received in 2015 and take a sizeable proportion of the 6,134 votes won by UKIP, this may just happen.
Remarkable Prediction: Newport West to turn blue and return a Conservative MP after this election.