Politics

First minister Mark Drakeford promises radical plans for Wales | Elections 2021

The Welsh Labour chief, Mark Drakeford, has promised to be radical and impressive in authorities after his occasion equalled its best-ever ends in the Senedd election.

Labour will stay in energy after profitable 30 seats – one wanting an absolute majority however sufficient to type a minority authorities if it chooses to not invite members of different events right into a Labour-led administration.

The Tories completed because the second largest occasion with 16 seats, whereas Plaid Cymru received 13.

Welsh Labour put what it referred to as an “extraordinary set of results” all the way down to Drakeford’s cautious management throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Asked if he deliberate to proceed his cautious strategy throughout a brand new administration, Drakeford stated: “Well, completely so far as coronavirus is worried. The pandemic has not gone away.

“A authorities I lead will proceed to observe the science to do what our medical advisers tells us we must always do, and that does imply doing issues in a manner that continues to maintain Wales secure.

“But on other matters, our manifesto is a radical manifesto with a host of ideas that are ambitious for Wales. I’ll be very keen to ensure that we give that the most powerful sense of momentum behind it to get those things happening here in Wales.”

The Welsh Liberal Democrat leader, Jane Dodds, who won a regional seat in Mid and West Wales, said she had not been approached by Drakeford to help form the next government. A Lib Dem, Kirsty Williams, served as education minister in the last administration when Labour held 29 seats.

The Welsh Conservatives took Vale of Clwyd in north Wales from Labour but failed to wrest other target seats such as Wrexham and the Vale of Glamorgan from Labour.

Plaid Cymru lost its high-profile former leader Leanne Wood’s Rhondda seat to Labour. The nationalists had hoped to have some sort of role in the next government and press their case for an independence referendum to be held.

Polling at the start of the campaign suggested Labour was facing its worst ever result and was at risk of winning as few as 22 of the Senedd’s 60 seats, a loss of seven from 2016.

Laura McAllister, a professor at Cardiff University’s Wales Governance Centre, agreed with Labour’s assessment of its performance as “extraordinary”.

She put it down to a slick Labour machine in Wales and the transformation of Drakeford into an “electoral asset”. “Labour made the campaign about continuity, asking voters to trust Welsh Labour with the handling of the post-Covid recovery as much as they trusted Labour over the lockdowns and vaccination programme. Clearly, that worked well.”

McAllister said making Drakeford front and centre of the campaign weakened the hand of Plaid, which had tried to make it a “presidential election” between him and their charismatic leader, Adam Price.

The Tories finished with their best ever results – but they remain far behind Labour, and McAllister said she could not see a route to power for them.

The Welsh Conservative Senedd leader, Andrew RT Davies, said: “It’s clear that incumbency and continuity has played a significant part.” He said he was thrilled to see Natasha Asghar make history in South Wales East by becoming the first female from a black, Asian and minority ethnic background to be elected to the Senedd.

There was no success for the populist parties in Wales this time, five years after Ukip won seven seats.

Drakeford said Welsh Labour would be keen to work with other parties where there was common ground.

He stated: “We’ve demonstrated in the past that you can govern successfully with 30 seats, but my approach will be to work with other parties where there are policy ideas that we have in common.

“No party has a monopoly of good ideas. I’m much more interested in working with others where we think that will be to the betterment of Wales than I am in the sort of political fixing of things. I’m looking forward to working with anybody who thinks that by doing things together we can do things better.”

Plaid chief Adam Price stated his occasion would proceed to build the case for independence. He added: “We will be a constructive but forensic opposition as we enter a crucial period of pandemic recovery.”

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