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10/05/2016

Wales stays red (just!)

 

Devolved elections in Wales marked a much better night
for Welsh Labour than initially anticipated by political spectators and local
pollsters, who will be joined by seven new UKIP Assembly Members forming the
Assembly’s fifth political group.

Party Result Roundup

Polls had long predicted a loss of two to four seats for
a party which had been in government for the last seventeen years. However, the
reds maintained their historic position as the largest party in the Senedd,
with all but one seat held following the ballot that saw a reduction of 7.6% on
average.

Labour lost the Rhondda constituency seat to Leanne Wood,
the leader of Plaid Cymru who had served previously as the South Wales Central
region Assembly Member. The Welsh nationalists gained one seat and notably
increased the share of its vote in Blaenau Gwent by 31.2%, however the holistic
result will be seen by some as disappointing for Plaid Cymru. A leadership
challenge is now expected by the new Assembly Member, and former Member of
Parliament, Adam Price AM (Carmarthen East and Dinefwr) following this limited
gain.

As widely expected since the start of the election
campaign, UKIP won seven seats for the first time in the Welsh Assembly. Nathan
Gill AM now leads a group formed of regionally elected Assembly Members, which
include former Conservative MPs Mark Reckless and Neil Hamilton. Mr Gill is
expected to be challenged for the party leadership at their first group meeting
due to be held on Tuesday 9 May following a turbulent election campaign.

Welsh Conservatives fared poorly in this election,
particularly given their spectacular success at last year’s General Election in
2015. Target seats such as Gower, Vale of Clwyd, Vale of Glamorgan and Cardiff
North failed to transfer to the blues despite the fact they all send Conservative
representatives to Parliament. Questions of the effectiveness of the campaign,
and the leadership of Welsh Leader Andrew RT Davies AM, are now being asked by
members and fellow Assembly Members.

Finally, Welsh Liberal Democrats fared worse than all the
other parties, with only one Assembly Member returned to office having retained
the Brecon and Radnorshire constituency seat. Kirsty Williams AM immediately
resigned as the Liberal Democrat Welsh leader, which was handed to the party’s
only MP Mark Williams (Ceredigion).

Where Next

Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones AM has now said he
wishes to pursue a minority Labour administration. He will attempt to form a
government over the coming days to implement his party’s manifesto over the
next five years.

On development matters, readers can expect new laws to
prevent land banking (the practice of withholding developable land to wait for
market improvement) and the construction of thousands of new homes.

Furthermore, at this stage it is unclear, due to the loss
of Public Services Minister Leighton Andrews (who was re-standing for Labour in
Rhondda), if local government reorganisation will be implemented or watered
down as Labour will need to work harder to build political consensus on the
proposals, which are already contentious for other opposition parties.

It is highly unlikely the other political parties will
have enough agreement to prevent Welsh Labour from forming a new government.

New Blood

The new Assembly, which will run for the next five years,
has seen many new faces elected following the retirement of many senior members
prior to the election on May 5 and a the subsequent loss of many others. Welsh
politics will be very different as a result.

The following are the new Assembly Members who have been
elected to take their seats in Cardiff:

Adam Price AM (Pld – Carmarthenshire
East & Dinefwr)

Lee Waters AM (Lab – Llanelli)

Baroness Eluned Morgan AM (Lab – Mid &
West Wales Region)

Jeremy Miles AM (Lab – Neath)

Huw Irranca-Davies AM (Lab – Ogmore)

Vikki Howells AM (Lab - Cynon
Valley)

Jayne Bryant AM (Lab – Newport
West)

Dawn Bowden AM (Lab – Merthyr Tydfil
and Rhymney)

Hannah Blythyn AM (Lab – Delyn)

Hefin David AM (Lab – Caerphilly)

Neil Hamilton AM (UKIP – Mid & West
Wales Region)

Nathan Gill AM (UKIP – North Wales
Region)

Michelle Brown AM (UKIP – North Wales
Region)

Neil McEvoy AM (Plaid Cymru – South
Wales Central Region)

Gareth Bennett AM (UKIP – South
Wales Central Region)

Mark Reckless AM (UKIP – South
Wales East Region)

David Rowlands AM (UKIP – South
Wales East Region)

Steffan Lewis AM (Plaid Cymru –
South Wales East Region)

Dr Dai Lloyd AM (Plaid Cymru –
South Wales West Region)

Caroline Jones AM (UKIP – South
Wales West Region)

Sian Gwenllian AM
(Plaid Cymru – Arfon)

Rhianon Passmore AM
(Labour – Islwyn)

 

For more information on Welsh Labour’s legislative
agenda and how it can affect your projects, please contact Will Morgan via 029
2167 0468 or will.morgan@remarkablegroup.co.uk.

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