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General Election 2017: Labour hails 'fantastic' results

June 9, 2017 6:13 AM
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General Election 2017: Labour hails 'fantastic' results

Labour has hailed a "fantastic" result in the general election in Wales after taking back Gower, Cardiff North and Vale of Clwyd from the Tories.

They also fought off fierce Tory battles for Bridgend and Wrexham, winning 28 seats, three more than 2015.

The results represent a huge blow to the Tories who hoped to make big gains across Wales in the snap election ahead of Brexit negotiations.

Plaid Cymru won four seats but the Liberal Democrats lost their only MP.

Labour First Minister Carwyn Jones said: "These are fantastic result in Wales. We had pulled out all the stops. We went out to listen to people, speak to people on the doorstep. I wanted to lead the campaign here in Wales and I did the debates."

He said Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn had managed to "capture young voters".

"Jeremy went round campaigning tirelessly around the whole of the UK listening to people.

"What we don't know is what is going to happen next. We know that there is no one party with a majority."

Following two recounts in Ceredigion which Plaid won, it means the Lib Dems have been left without a Welsh MP for the first time since 1859.

Meanwhile, it has been confirmed Britain will have a hung parliament, after Labour's victory in Southampton Test made it impossible for any party to reach the 326 MPs required to achieve an absolute majority.

Labour's share of the vote in Wales was 49.7%, its highest since 1997 and a 2.9% swing from the Conservatives, while the turnout was 68.5% - up 2.9% on 2015.

Gower is a significant victory for Labour who lost it for the first time in more than 100 years in 2015 to the Tories by 27 votes.

However, Tonia Antoniazzi has taken the seat from Byron Davies with a majority of 3,269.

In the swing seat of Cardiff North, Anna McMorrin's 4,174 majority at the expense of Craig Williams is the biggest in 20 years as her party claimed 28 seats in Wales. She said her team had fought a "positive, energetic campaign".

Labour also recorded majorities of more than 12,000 in Llanelli and Cardiff Central with shadow defence secretary Nia Griffith and Jo Stevens respectively.

First Minister Carwyn Jones said Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn had run a "superb" campaign in a "volatile" environment.

Meanwhile, Chris Ruane said he was "elated" to win back Vale of Clwyd, adding one of his priorities was to ensure the constituency did not lose out financially from Brexit.

He said: "If we are leaving Europe, I want to make sure that those Tory pledges that we wouldn't lose out are kept."

In what has been a bruising night for the Conservatives losing seats key seats, they also missed out on taking two of their targets in Bridgend and Wrexham - which Prime Minister Theresa May visited during campaigning.

With the Tories on course to be the largest party in the UK but without an overall majority and fewer seats than before the election, the prime minister is facing calls to resign.

Swansea-born Conservative MP Nigel Evans, member for Ribble Valley, told BBC 5 Live: "We didn't shoot ourselves in the foot, we shot ourselves in the head."

Senior Welsh Tories including Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns, Stephen Crabb and David Davies held on to their seats but with reduced majorities.

The Conservatives have won eight seats in Wales - three fewer than in 2015.

But Preseli Pembrokeshire MP Mr Crabb maintained the motivation for holding an election ahead of the start of Brexit negotiations were "entirely right and proper".

He added: "Clearly something has gone wrong because the country has wanted to talk about other issues at this election time.

"They wanted to raise other concerns and there are a whole lot of new voters who were less concerned about Brexit and more concerned about issues to do with quality of life and their economic security into the future."

Elsewhere, Plaid Cymru held on to Arfon with Hywel Williams winning by 92 votes, and also Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, and Dwyfor Meirionnydd, but failed to gain its key Rhondda target seat from Labour, and also fell to third place in Ynys Mon.

Its additional seat came in Ceredigion where Welsh Lib Dem leader Mark Williams was ousted by Ben Lake following two recounts, with 104 votes between them.

Plaid leader Leanne Wood said it "matched its best ever performance in a Westminster election" after gaining four seats for the first time since 2001.

She added: "In an election that has been heavily polarised and falsely framed as a binary choice between the two biggest London parties, Plaid Cymru has bucked the trend and made a gain while other parties have made heavy losses."

Neil Hamilton, UKIP's Welsh assembly group leader, also said his party had "been squeezed" in this election where they have not picked up any seats. He came fourth in Carmarthen East and Dinefwr.

Senior Welsh Liberal Democrat Baroness Jenny Randerson, said the party had suffered at UK level, adding: "Your airtime declines and therefore it becomes much more difficult to make your case."

Source: bbc.co.uk

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