Tories on track for general election success.
The local elections are over in Wales. What can we read in the results? Although Labour lost over a hundred seats they must be breathing a massive sigh of relief.
Why? It wasn’t the wipeout that many predicted. They held on to Caerphilly, Cardiff, Neath Port Talbot, Newport, RCT, Swansea and Torfaen.
All be it, they lost Blaenau Gwent and Merthyr. Once part of the South Wales coalfield and for much of the twentieth century regarded as Labour strongholds.
Both seats have been lost Independents in Parliamentary elections in the past. And it was these that swept Labour out of control of the respective county halls. Interestingly neither seat seems fertile ground for the other political parties. But it does show that once loyal Labour voters have moved from supporting Labour in the past it is possible to do it again.
Conservatives will of course be quietly satisfied with the results having gained seats in many parts of Wales and it augers well for their general election campaign.
The results will help them to decide which seats to target for June. When the dust settles we will expect that most of their resources will be concentrated in North East Wales where they can expect some happy hunting.
Plaid Cymru will be disappointed though gaining over thirty seats they failed to gain overall control of any authority other than Gwynedd. In their target seat of Ceredigion their council results so no gains at all. Despite gaining 8 more seats control of Carmarthenshire still eludes them.
Similarly they only gained 2 seats in Ynys Mon so again control is out of their grasp. But they will be quietly optimistic of wrestling the seat from Labour in the general election.
In 2012 the Liberal Democrats had a disaster but rather than gain ground they have suffered further losses. On the bases of this they will find it difficult to gain any seats in Wales in the forthcoming general election.
Cardiff Central where they had hopes has become a three way marginal seat with the Conservatives also back in the game here.
Finally, UKIP have now ceased to be a force in either England or Wales. Their last remaining stronghold is their presence in the Assembly. Even here, because of defections they are down to 5 members from their original 7 members.
Their vote throughout the country has gone straight to the Tories. And even those Labour voters that voted UKIP have not gone back to Labour but have moved to backing the Tories.
What does this all tell us about the general election result? The local election results point to Teresa May getting her overall majority. Unless there is a dramatic change in Labour’s fortune the only question is how big a landslide?