Labour savours success at Welsh polls

 

Labour celebrated its election success in Wales with a mini victory parade by a statue of one its most famous politicians.

First Minister Carwyn Jones, Shadow Secretary Peter Hain and a hoard of party members hit Cardiff City Centre today just a few hours after taking control of nine councils in Wales.

They gathered by the statue of the late Labour MP and NHS founder Aneurin Bevan in Queen Street to spell out their vision for its local authorities.

Among its major victories included winning the "big three" of Cardiff, Swansea and Newport - completing a hat trick over rivals the Liberal Democrats, who suffered a torrid time in the polls.

Labour also managed to snatch the Vale of Glamorgan from the Conservatives as well make gains from Plaid Cymru.

Upsets for the nationalists included seeing their Caerphilly councillor Ron Davies - a former Labour MP and UK government cabinet minister - lose his seat.

Joining Mr Jones and Mr Hain at the statue this morning was Cardiff Council's soon-to-be new Labour leader Heather Joyce.

She said the election had been a "fantastic one for Labour" and promised her party "would not let Cardiff down".

First Minister Mr Jones, who had previously called on the electorate to use their vote as "a message to David Cameron", said taking control of the Welsh capital's local authority was no easy task, but he paid tribute to activists and supporters for their hard work.

He said: "Cardiff was a difficult mountain to climb, but we've climbed it.

"Of course the hard work begins now.

"I think there are three messages from this morning's results.

"There is a message to the UK Government, and there is also support for what we are doing as a government in the Assembly.

"And here in Cardiff there has been the resounding message from the people that they wanted to a change in the administration and see us back in power."

The Welsh Labour leader also dismissed suggestions his party had run a negative campaign during the elections.

He added: "If you want to see negative campaigning you should see some of the Plaid Cymru leaflets.

"Yes there were people on the doorstep who said they were going to vote Labour because of what is happening in Westminster - but we were going to deter them for doing that."

And Neath MP Mr Hain added the result put Labour in a strong position for the next UK general election.

He said: "We saw gains right across the city - from Tories, Lib Dems, Plaid Cymru and from Independents.

"This was replicated right across Wales. We did better than we have done in Wales for a long, long time. This is a vindication of our election strategy.

"This was not a national message to send a message to Cameron and Clegg, this was a grassroots campaign and a new type of refounded Welsh Labour.

"It shows we are well on the way to getting a good result in the next general election."

Today's results were the best Labour has achieved since local government was reorganised in 1996.

As well as rejoicing over winning Cardiff, the party returned to power in Wales's second city, Swansea, following eight years of a Lib Dem-led coalition.

Meanwhile, the Welsh Conservatives lost their majority in Monmouthshire, falling three seats short of the 22 they needed to secure outright control.

And they also lost control of the Vale of Glamorgan, with Labour now the largest party but without an overall majority, and its leadership of Newport.

The Conservatives' leader in the Welsh Assembly, Andrew RT Davies, said the Welsh Tories suffered a "setback" because of a "difficult national backdrop".

Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan added: "This was never going to be an easy election as we started from a record high base in Wales having made gains at successive elections.

"When these seats were last fought, Labour was in government and received their worst result in local elections for decades.

"In the last two years, the Conservative-led UK Government has had to take some very tough decisions in the national interest to clean up the mess left by Labour.

"Labour in Wales has regained lost ground but people don't want triumphalism. They expect delivery."

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Life and Style
Suited and booted in the Lanvin show at the Paris menswear collections
fashionParis Fashion Week
Arts and Entertainment
Kara Tointon and Jeremy Piven star in Mr Selfridge
tvActress Kara Tointon on what to expect from Series 3
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
An asteroid is set to pass so close to Earth it will be visible with binoculars
news
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has spoken about the lack of opportunities for black British actors in the UK
film
News
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Private Client Solicitor - Oxford

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...

Austen Lloyd: Clinical Negligence Associate / Partner - Bristol

Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant - Solar Energy - OTE £50,000

£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...

Recruitment Genius: Compute Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project