Target Seats in Wales: Labour

We’ve already seen where the Conservatives will be focusing their efforts. Instead of hoping to stretch their influence in Wales, they’ll be desperately attempting to stem the tide. And even if UKIP aren’t going to make the same inroads in Wales as they’re likely to do in England, the influence of another right-wing party pulling votes from Conservatives is all the more reason to write off Conservative chances of any gains. So which of those Conservative seats will Labour be sniffing around and pouring resources into? It’s time to do the stats.

Labour already holds most of the constituencies in Wales at the National Assembly: Aberavon, Alyn & Deeside, Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Caerphilly, Cardiff Central, Cardiff North, Penarth & Cardiff South, Cardiff West, Clwyd South, Cynon Valley, Delyn, Gower, Islwyn, Llanelli, Merthyr Tydfil & Rhymney, Neath, Newport East, Newport West, Ogmore, Pontypridd, Rhondda, Swansea East, Swansea West, Vale of Clwyd, Vale of Glamorgan and Wrexham

That means that there are only two seats that don’t make it into the top 10 (for completeness see here). And those top 10 target seats in order of ‘best contender for a challenge’?:

  • Carmarthen West & South Pembrokeshire
  • Preseli Pembrokeshire
  • Carmarthen East & Dinefwr
  • Aberconwy
  • Clwyd West
  • Monmouth
  • Ynys Mon
  • Arfon
  • Brecon & Radnorshire
  • Montgomeryshire

My theoretical model has taken a slight hit. Ynys Môn (6th target in this analysis) is already held by Labour’s Albert Owen – and has been since 2001. And there are three seats currently held by Labour in the Assembly that they don’t hold at Westminster: Cardiff Central, Cardiff North and the Vale of Glamorgan. Clearly those three seats are going to insert themselves at the top of my list, and Ynys Mon is going to drop off. So let’s re-jig it a bit:

  • Vale of Glamorgan
  • Cardiff North
  • Cardiff Central
  • Carmarthen West & South Pembrokeshire
  • Preseli Pembrokeshire
  • Carmarthen East & Dinefwr
  • Aberconwy
  • Clwyd West
  • Monmouth
  • Arfon

It turns out that the Labour Party has done their own wish-list for 2015, and they’re gunning for 8 seats. How do they fit in with my assessment?

Well, they’ve plumped for numbers 1-7 and 10 in my version. Why they think that Clwyd West and Monmouth are impregnable is beyond me, particularly with the entertainment that UKIP is likely to throw into the mix, although Hywel Williams is probably up for a jumpy night in Arfon  despite coming in at number 10 in the Penarth a’r Byd listing. As for the others, the Vale of Glamorgan should be winnable if Labour can select a candidate more credible than their 2010 disaster, Jonathan Evans has taken the coward’s way out having already seen the writing on the wall in Cardiff North, and despite a sizeable majority Jenny Willott has got her work cut out over the next 2 years to cling on to Cardiff Central (BlogMenai thinks it’s certain to fall). Simon Hart in Carmarthen West/South Pembs is vulnerable. However even with the UKIP factor Aberconwy and Preseli Pembrokeshire are rather unlikely to turn red unless it’s a landslide, and with opinion polls saying that Ed Miliband has little credibility as potential Prime Minister I think we can rule out a huge victory for Labour. Jonathan Edwards is looking a safe bet to retain Carmarthen East/Dinefwr for Plaid.

Finally, let’s just remember that since Labour already hold 26 of the 40 Welsh seats at Westminster, some of the ‘top 10’ are likely to be much more challenging – all things being equal – than the ‘top 10’ of the other parties, because with seat number 10 you’re actually looking at the 5th least winnable seat.

10 Sylw

Filed under Democracy, Elections, Labour, Westminster

10 responses to “Target Seats in Wales: Labour

  1. BoiCymraeg

    The Plaid Cymru vote in places like Arfon and Caerfyrddin East is pretty loyal; I’d be very surprised if Labour picked up either seat even if UNS suggests they’re possibilities. Labour have an unusual advantage in that both of their main rivals are in westminster government; however this doesn’t apply to Plaid Cymru so even if we will see a swing from Tory/Libs to Labour it probably won’t be enough to capture either seat – neither the Tories nor Liberals gain many votes in Arfon or Caerfyrddin East.

  2. BoiCymraeg, I’m with you in that I’d be particularly surprised if Labour unseated Jonathan Edwards. But Hywel Williams is hardly Plaid’s star performer. Meanwhile Alun Pugh has been selected as Labour’s candidate. He’s well known in the area, a former Minister in the Welsh Government and he knows how to work the media. He was 1,500 votes or so behind Hywel in Arfon in 2010, but that was a bad election for Labour across the UK. Given that the 2015 election is also going to be fought on UK terms and with Labour almost certain to be polling better than they did in 2010, this result is going to be much closer than last time.

  3. Hysbysiad Cyfeirio: Target Seats in Wales: Lib Dems | penartharbyd

  4. Hysbysiad Cyfeirio: Target Seats in Wales: Plaid | penartharbyd

  5. Hysbysiad Cyfeirio: The Impregnables | penartharbyd

  6. Hysbysiad Cyfeirio: The Contestables | penartharbyd

  7. Hysbysiad Cyfeirio: Ynys Môn | penartharbyd

  8. Hysbysiad Cyfeirio: Penarth and Cardiff South: Conservatives | penartharbyd

  9. Hysbysiad Cyfeirio: Penarth and Cardiff South: Conservatives | penartharbyd

  10. Hysbysiad Cyfeirio: Seizing Power in Cardiff Bay: Labour | penartharbyd

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