The Conservatives could win 21 of Wales’ 40 seats next monthby Jac Larner / May 4, 2017 / Leave a comment
Last week a Wales Governance Centre (WGC)/ITV Wales poll by YouGov sent shockwaves through the UK’s political landscape by reporting a ten-point lead for the Conservatives over Labour in Wales. The poll was described by Welsh psephologist-in-chief Roger Scully as the beginning of a potential “electoral earthquake.” If the poll is accurate—and that is an important “if”—the Conservatives could win as many as 21 of Wales’ 40 seats, breaking two historic characteristics of Welsh politics.
The first of these is Labour hegemony. Since 1922, Labour has won every general election in Wales and, as of 1935, has also won a majority of Welsh seats. Labour’s dominance in Wales has not been limited to general elections. Over this period, it has won every National Assembly, local and EU election bar one: the 2009 European Parliament Elections, where it was narrowly edged into second place by the Conservatives. This period of near-complete dominance has made Labour in Wales one of the most effective electoral machines in Europe.
The second characteristic that looks to be coming to an end is the Conservative Party’s historic weakness in Wales. The Tories’ lack of success in Wales pre-dates Labour dominance; the last time the Conservatives won the popular vote in Wales w…