General Election 2024: Is Wales a safe bet for Labour?

Labour has dominated the political scene in Wales for decades. Not only has it held power in the Senedd for a quarter of a century, it has emerged as Wales’ biggest party in every General Election since 1922, currently holding 22 of the 40 Welsh seats in the House of Commons. With boundary changes coming into effect, this year the number of constituencies in Wales will drop to 32, with Labour currently predicted to win at least 25.

Labour’s stronghold across South Wales remains unwavering, and the party is expected to re-gain a number of seats in the traditional North East ‘Red Wall’, where voters were overcome with ‘Boris-mania’ and swung Conservative in 2019.

Boundary changes mean the party is polling well in formerly rural Conservative seats, such as the Vale of Glamorgan and Monmouthshire, leaving well known figures including Secretary of State for Wales, David TC Davies, in serious danger of defenestration.

So yes – for now, Labour looks set for success in Wales, but, with newly-minted First Minister Vaughan Gething facing an ongoing row over donations to his leadership campaign, this will not be without controversy.

Welsh Labour’s current scandals are less than ideal for campaigning, with candidate for the new seat of Mid and South Pembrokeshire, Henry Tufnell, refusing to campaign alongside the First Minister.  With Vaughan Gething having lost a vote of no confidence in the Senedd yesterday, it may only be matter of time before other candidates come to the same conclusion.

The party has also faced criticism for parachuting in two candidates, Alex Barros-Curtis and Torsten Bell, seemingly without any links to Wales, to the seats of Cardiff West and Swansea West respectively. Despite speculation around internal party division, the pair will almost certainly be elected.

Changing of the guard

There is unlikely to be any silver lining for the Conservative Party in this election. Currently it holds 13 seats in Wales but is only expected to return, at most, two Welsh MPs – Craig Williams in Montgomeryshire and Fay Jones in Brecon, Radnor and Cwm Tawe.

Plaid Cymru has three MPs at present, with Johnathan Edwards having served as an Independent member since 2020. Mr Edwards’ decision not to stand in the new Caerfyrddin seat will be welcome news for Plaid candidate Ann Davies, who will be hoping to sweep up his local support. However, the Labour target seat could well be won by their candidate, former DIST policy adviser, Martha O’Neil. Either way, former Secretary of State for Wales, Simon Hart, looks likely to be without a seat on July 5th.

Plaid Cymru’s long-term ambition is to break into the South Wales Valleys, but – for now – the Party will be doing well to elect four MPs. With Liz Saville Roberts in Dwyfor Meirionnydd and Ben Lake in Ceredigion Preseli assumed to be safe, their final hope is the three-way marginal of Ynys Môn.

It’s a favourite piece of trivia among Welsh politicos that Ynys Môn has never failed to return its sitting MP. However, this year the polls are showing a Labour gain for Ieuan Môn Williams, although Plaid Council Leader, Llinos Medi, also has a solid chance of wresting the seat from the Conservative incumbent Virginia Crosbie.

What’s next?

Those who miss out on a seat in Westminster may be tempted to stand for the Senedd in 2026, when Wales will elect an increased number of 96 MSs. Plaid will be looking to make in-roads across the South, whilst the Conservatives will be keen to win back seats across their heartlands in rural Mid Wales if the General Election delivers the expected results. The challenge for Labour will be to convince the public it deserves their votes following the recent leadership donations row, especially when there’s no Conservative government in Westminster to blame for funding shortfalls. While they might be successful this time around, with the First Minister’s position looking increasingly precarious, Welsh Labour cannot afford to be complacent.


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